Activism of Tommie Smith and Wilma Rudolph Discussed in Sports and Social Justice Lecture Series

wilmarudolphflyerSonoma State University's Sports and Social Justice lecture series explores gender, race and society with lectures about track stars Wilma Rudolph and Dr. Tommie Smith, both of whom shattered stereotypes and paved the way for future generations. "Both of these talks cut across wide areas of interest and academic fields," says Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, Dr. Lauren Morimoto, who organizes the annual lecture series. Admission is free, parking is $5-$8 on campus.

Feb. 20
Student Center Ballroom D, 7 p.m.
Rita Liberti and Maureen M. Smith discuss their award-winning book, "(Re)presenting Wilma Rudolph," which examines the achievements of the track and field star known as the "fastest woman in the world" in the 1960s. This lecture examines how we as a society honor our sports heroes, the seeming necessity of heroic narratives, and racism and sexism in professional sports. "Narratives about her illustrate how American ideas about race, gender and ability intersect, and memorials illustrate how our current concerns around race and gender inform how we write the past," says Morimoto. The book won the Book of the Year award from the North American Society for Sport History last year.

Apr. 11
Student Center Ballroom A, 7:30 p.m.
This lecture by Olympic athlete and Civil Rights activist Dr. Tommie Smith explores his history in sports activism. Dr. Smith was the first person to run a 200-meter sprint in under 20 seconds, but he became a leading sports activist when he raised his fist in a black power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, as captured in an iconic photograph seen around the world. His actions, for which he received national criticism, provided the foundation for the athlete activism we see today. "He brought athlete activism into the American mainstream," says Morimoto. Actions like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during the National Anthem, high school athletes sporting "I can't breathe shirts," and the Miami Heat's hoodie statement post-Travon Martin, would not be possible without Dr. Smith's activism.

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