I was eight years old in October of 1968 as I watched Tommie Smith and John Carlos receive their Summer Olympic medals with raised, black-gloved fists. I didn't notice they were also shoeless and wearing black socks to represent poverty, or see the beads and scarf representing lynchings. I admit that the moment scared and confused me. This suburban white kid didn't understand how a great victory would make these men look so sad. It was perhaps the first time I really wondered what was wrong with America, and it remains one of my life’s strongest visual memories. Now I've been given a chance to learn Tommie Smith's life story directly from him. He was also young when he started wondering what was wrong, why his large, loving, hard-working, faithful family of Texas sharecroppers had so much less than whites, despite tireless, honest effort. The story of his path from childhood to the moment they took a stand for human rights and a better nation is inspiration from an American hero, for which I’m deeply grateful. With exquisite illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile, this graphic novel answers questions that began in my eight-year-old thoughts fifty-four years ago. Now that’s extraordinary!— Tim McCarthy
A 2022 National Book Award for Young People's Literature Finalist
One of the Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best books of 2022
"Phenomenal…Timely and timeless, a must-read not just for sports fans but for everyone." —New York Times Book Review
On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships.
In his first-ever memoir for young readers, Tommie Smith looks back on his childhood growing up in rural Texas through to his stellar athletic career, culminating in his historic victory and Olympic podium protest. Cowritten with Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Honor recipient Derrick Barnes and illustrated with bold and muscular artwork from Emmy Award–winning illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand! paints a stirring portrait of an iconic moment in Olympic history that still resonates today.
About the Author
Tommie Smith is a former Olympic track-and-field gold medalist. He lives outside Atlanta, Georgia.
Derrick Barnes has received both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Dawud Anyabwile is an Emmy Award–winning illustrator and comic artist based in Atlanta, Georgia.
In his phenomenal graphic memoir, "Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice,” Smith teams up with the award-winning author Derrick Barnes to tell his own riveting story of balancing athletic prowess and social activism. . . . Anyabwile's stirring black-and-white illustrations propel this magnificently paced story, and underscore the infuriating professional repercussions of Smith's activism. . . . Timely and timeless, Smith's "Victory. Stand!" is a must read not just for sports fans but for everyone.
— New York Times Book Review
This evocative undertaking extends histories of 20th-century Black struggles for new generations, reminding us to continue to be brave, courageous, and organize for change. Authentic and inspiring.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Compelling.... Kinetically illustrated.... A powerful celebration of resistance.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
With vivid black-and-white artwork that emphasizes Smith's athleticism and powerful messages about allyship, conviction, family, and resistance, this is compelling and engaging account of an iconic moment and an important period in U.S. history.
— Booklist (starred review)
An illuminating example of the power of a moral stance.
— School Library Journal (starred review)
Anyabwile conveys great emotion in his fluid black-and-white art, which pairs well with the conversational first-person text.
— Horn Book Magazine (starred review)
Smith, Barnes, and Anyabwile’s artful collaboration translates the consistently impressive perseverance of Smith’s real life into grounded and thoughtful motivation for readers
— Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books