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“It’s not a tragedy to not reach your goals-the tragedy is to not have any goals.” Tommie Smith
Fort Worth, Texas—This year’s 15th annual scholarship banquet keynote speaker for Dr. Marion Brooks Living Legend Awards is not only a legend, but an American icon for his achievements in track & field. Tommie Smith, a native of Clarksville, Texas, shared his experiences as a NCAA student athlete with scholarship recipients for this years banquet. “Non-involvement was not an option for Tommie Smith,” Smith said.
In January of 2007, Dr. Smith completed his autobiography titled “Silent Gesture” published Temple University Press which resulted in a nomination for an NCAAP Image Award in literary. The read contains the achievements that led Dr. Smith holding 11- world records by the time he was 21 years old.
Dr.Smith was propelled into the spotlight during the summer of 1968 representing the U.S. in the Mexico Olympics, when he broke another world record in the 2000-meters. While the Star-Spangled Banner played Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the victory podium, draped in their Olympic medals, and made the gesture that caused international panic. Each raised a clinched fist in a black leather glove in a stand for of solidarity for the human rights violations that happened in Mexico City prior to the Olympics, and human right violations around the world.
This years living legend award recipients were selected for their years of expertise and service in fields of Business, community service, education, health and music. Roosevelt Burrell, Jr, Cluade R. Platte, Dr. William T. Slater, Ms. Dollie Gentry and Ornette Coleman.
This year’s master of ceremony was noted former KXAS Channel 5 sports director Scott Murray.
In the past 30-years Smith has taught at every level in the field of education. One piece of advise he passes on to the scholarship winners for young students in his classroom, “Don’t let me see anything you don’t want me to smell,” referring to the sagging attire young people seem attached to.
He also informed the future collegians not to be afraid of minority status. “In the minority is where I like to stay – because that’s where the real power of change comes from,” Smith said.