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John Carlos visits South Bend community

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- John Carlos, a 1968 Olympian and civil rights activist, came to South Bend with a message for the community.

“To let them know that I’m still of sound, mind and still have a focus and direction,” said John Carlos, Olympian and Civil Rights activist,

Greeted by a crowd of about 100 people who waited in line to meet him, Carlos told his story and how his legacy during the civil rights movement began.

“I said ‘Pop, has America ever had a black swimmer, to represent America?’ He said ‘no son.’ ‘I’m going to be the first. I’m going to be the first black swimmer to represent this country’,” said Carlos.

Carlos went on to become one of America’s greatest runners and an icon for equality after his Black Power salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

“It was so much going on, not just here in the United States but on a world level and my participation was just a piece of that puzzle,” said Carlos.

Two local high school students also track runners say they were in awe.

“It’s great that we have someone so famous from our American history to show up to some place like South Bend and give us the story on what he did,” said Gideon Lawson, a 17-year-old senior at Central High School.

But Carlos says it’s their generation he aims to guide.

“We don’t want everybody speaking different languages, we want to have one voice. It’s a lot more young people that are starting to step up to the plate such as I did. 50 years ago I was 23 years old. You look today, you see kids 16, 17 years old making statements that’s critical to society today,” said Carlos.

John Carlos plans to be on campus the week of April 4-7 with an event on Saturday open to the public. For more information and to register, click here.

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