John Carlos in sculpture

Alumnus John Carlos Releases Autobiography

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

John Carlos, one of two Spartans memorialized in an iconic sculpture at SJSU after taking a controversial stand at the 1968 Olympic Games, has released his autobiography. “The John Carlos Story” was co-written by Dave Zirin with a forward by Cornel West. The Princeton University scholar notes Carlos’ “incredible political courage, indisputable athletic excellence, and indestructible spiritual fortitude set him apart from contemporary celebrities.” Carlos recalls “what was truly special was not the statue, but how it came about … students on campus organized a movement that made the statue happen.” He also describes how “I made a proposal to the people at San Jose State … that I would like to see them bestow honorary doctorate degrees on Tommie and me … The ‘Dr.’ in front of my name was important because I was dyslexic as a young man, and now I spend my days talking to kids about education. I wanted them to know it could be done.” John Carlos and fellow Olympian Tommie Smith received honorary Ph.D.s from San Jose State in May 2005.  Together, they received the 2008 Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Watch an ESPN video narrated by Tom Cruise. Read a San Francisco Chronicle book review.