Beret of Hope

“Are you the Frank who wrote a book about me?” The fascinating question arrived via email from a man in Africa.¬†Unfortunately, I’m not the Frank he sought. I did find it pretty exciting to hear from someone notable enough to be the subject of a book.

The email was from Olympic athlete Lee Evans, who won two gold medals in track at the Mexico City games in 1968, setting world records that stood for 20 years. He said that he was living in West Africa and that he was hoping that author Frank Murphy could help him get additional copies of the book.

Murphy’s book is “The Last Protest: Lee Evans in Mexico City.” says it “tells the story of the proposed boycott of the 1968 Olympic games by America’s black athletes.”¬†The 1968 Olympics are remembered for the Black Power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos after the men’s 200 meter race. The next day, Lee Evans, Larry James and Ron Freeman wore Black Panther style berets during the medal ceremony for the 4 x 400 men’s relay.

A 2005 speech by Evans is available on YouTube. He spoke to a class at Ohio University about his role in history.

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