- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Do you know the story about the Smith and Carlos Statue in San Jose State University Campus?
Tommie Smith and John Carlos were the 1968 Olympic gold and bronze medal winners in the 200 meter run and they were the SJSU student activists. Tommie Smith’s raised black-glove represented black power. The knotted black scarf around his neck represented pride and the box in his left hand contained an olive tree sapling, which stood as an emblem of peach. John Carlos’s raised left black-glove represented unity in black America, and the beads around his neck signified lynching suffered by blacks. Both men wore black socks but were shoeless during the ceremony to represent the black poverty in racist America. Together they formed an arch of unity and power as quoted on SJSU Self Guided Tour Handout.
Sohn is the man at the centre of one of the iconic photographs of Olympic history. It is more understated than the snap of Tommie Smith and John Carlos giving the black power salute at Mexico '68, but just as powerful. It was taken on 9 August 1936, at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. It shows three athletes on the podium during the medal ceremony of the Olympic marathon. At the back is the British silver medallist Ernie Harper. He is standing tall, shoulders back and head held high, a proud smile on his face. In front of him are two Korean runners, Sohn, gold medallist, and Nam Sung-yong, bronze medallist. Their heads are bowed and both are staring at their feet in, what they later called, "silent shame and outrage". Sohn is clutching a young oak tree to his chest. Nam would later say how envious he was of his team-mate. Not because of colour of his medal, but because unlike Sohn he had no oak tree to cover up the Japanese flag that was emblazoned across his shirt.
Between 1910 and 1948 Korea was under the Japanese rule, who suppressed the indigenous culture and language due to the Japanese imperialism and colonialism during the World War II. The flags that were raised and the anthem that was played to salute Sohn and Nam were not Korean, but Japanese, and the press and the IOC did not award or record the victory as a Korean triumph, but a Japanese one. Sohn was not even allowed to compete under his own name, but went by the Japanese transliteration, Son Kitei.
During his stay in Berlin Sohn tried to tell the would that they should not think of him as Japanese. He would sign his name in Korean characters, and would often draw a small picture of his country alongside his autograph. After the race he tried to tell the newspapermen again and again that he was Korean, not Japanese, but his minders refused to translate his remarks. Montague's mistake was repeated right around the world, with one conspicuous exception. Back in Korea the newspapers blurred the Japanese flag out of the photographs of Sohn. The Korean daily Dong-A Ilbo, which still exists today, carried the photo – with the Japanese flag scratched out – on its front page on 25 August. Immediately afterwards the Japanese government shut the Dong-A Ilbo down for nine months and arrested, then tortured, eight of its journalists as quoted on TheGuardian.
I think the common threads of the two stories are not only bowing their heads during the olympic medal ceremony for the silent protest, but also giving us the lesson about "take a stand” in what we believe in; equality, human rights, respect and freedom of speech etc.
San Jose Public Library Collections
Not only is autumn a time of gorgeous light and colors, it is cross-country and marathon running time. It is my best-loved season and I always look forward to running on leaf strewn trails and the crispness of the air as it welcomes the change in seasons.
The New York City (NYC) Marathon is this Sunday, November 6 and two popular running websites, FloTrack and LetsRun, have loads of coverage on the NYC Marathon and just about any other news of import related to the running world.
The California Interscholastic Federation Central Coast Section Cross Country Championships will be at Crystal Springs on Saturday, November 12.
Stanford is hosting the NCAA Division I Cross Country West Regionals on Saturday, November 12.
The Silicon Valley Turkey Trot is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day Thursday on November 24. There were over 14,000 participants last year and race organizers are hoping to reach 17,500 this year. The 2010 race raised $450,000 for three local charities: Children’s Health Initiative, the Housing Trust of Santa Clara county and Second Harvest Food Bank. Read the San Jose Mercury News Article, “Turkey Day’s Coming Up, and so is Annual Trot” for more statistics on the race.
I hope everyone gets a chance to enjoy one or all of these wonderful races either as a spectator or as a participant. This is a wonderful season to run and there are many races scheduled throughout the Bay Area.
Check out some titles at the San Jose Public Library to pique your interest in running and get you out on the trails, track or the road.
Have you ever thought about running a marathon? Does it seem like something you have always wanted to do, but never got around to? Well, the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll marathon is on October 2, 2011 and there is still plenty of time to register!
What now, you don't feel ready? Need answers to all of the questions running through your mind? Well, pull out your library card and check outa book or movie here at the library that will help you train.
Also, if you register today, July 13,2011 (PST), with online code LUCKY 13, you get $13.00 off!