The idea for this project began when I asked my brilliant brother about “Olympic” topics that might be appropriate to research for a graduate class titled “Race, Class, and Culture.” During the course of our conversation, he mentioned Tommie Smith and John Carlos. After preliminary research, I realized their story encompassed everything I wanted to emphasize in my work. The seed was planted.
The professor of that class, Nikhil Singh, helped cultivate that seed, as well as many others. He has profoundly changed the way I see the world, and he helped me gain the capacity to articulate clearly the thoughts that wander in my head. His impact is everywhere throughout my work; I hope I have done his influence justice. Equally, Matt Jacobson has remained my most trusted adviser on any matters that I (constantly) put before him—intellectual, professional, and pedagogical—despite a variety of geographical distances between us. I thank him for remaining as “in touch” as I ever could want.
I owe much to the faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. They cultivated a creative, progressive, financially supportive, and collegial environment under difficult gubernatorial circumstances. Nancy Tomes has been an exemplary teacher, advocate, friend, basketball fan, and scholar. Femi Vaughan offered kind words, good conversation, and a sensitive critical eye. Thanks also to Gene Lebovics, Barbara Weinstein, Ned Landsman, Richard Kuisel, Joel Rosenthal, and Gary Marker.