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Jack Solomon , Black Power, circa 1960s; bronze, 18 x 8 x 9 ½ inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Sylvia and Robert Traynham Coles, 2018

Jack Solomon , Black Power, circa 1960s; bronze, 18 x 8 x 9 ½ inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Sylvia and Robert Traynham Coles, 2018

During the 1960s, African Americans and other concerned citizens became active in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements to change society, with the goal to achieve equality in social, economic, and political realms of American culture. Jack Solomon’s sculpture Black Power is a three-dimensional interpretation of the two-dimensional raised fist design symbolizing black power during this period. This powerful symbol became internationally recognized during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City when gold and bronze award winners in the 200-meter sprint, Tommie Smith and John Carlos respectively, put on black leather gloves, lowered their heads, and raised their fists in a Black Power salute during the national anthem. They also had taken off their shoes before standing on the podium to protest poverty, and they wore a scarf and beads to protest lynchings.