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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Olympics IS political: Aussie Peter Norman solidarity with black power salute 1968
Mood:  special
Topic: independent media

The penultimate post was a mild sledge of the ABC morning programme the way you get the shits with a parental figure when it comes to community media, and we mentioned 'The Mural'. As said our understanding is that the mural was done by Donald Urquhart, unauthorised possibly, a Kiwi living in Australia and who we suspect has a day job as a nurse, if still here.

Now here is an artist blogger dated 22 April 2007, which we are so grateful for, for saving us the trip. Over to Nosey in Newtown:

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stars of Track and Field

The 'Three Proud People' mural on the side of a house near Macdonaldtown Station is one of my favourite pieces of Newtown street art. Not two proud people, but three.

The white guy in the picture, the third proud person, is Australian Peter Norman. He knew the African-American athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, were planning to give the black-power salute during the ceremony and supported them by wearing a badge for the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He also suggested to them that they share their one pair of black gloves, which is why Smith has his left arm raised and Carlos his right. Norman died last year, and Smith and Carlos came to Australia to be his pall-bearers. They were quoted as saying that Norman deserved to be more famous that Steve Irwin.

I can't imagine any Australian Olympic athletes making a political statement like this today. Certainly not if it meant risking offending the United States. Carlos and Smith were expelled from the Olympics for this salute, and Norman was officially reprimanded. Despite qualifying, Norman was not picked for the 1972 Olympic athletics team.

RailCorp has recently erected a massive concrete sound barrier along the tracks at Macdonaldtown, completely obstructing the view of the mural.

I have written a letter to the Lord Mayor and the Minister for Transport calling for them to reproduce the mural on the other side of the barrier so you can see it again while trundling past on the train. If you'd like to voice your support for repainting the mural, feel free to write to me for a copy of my letter which you can conveniently modify and send on.


Nosey in Newtown said...

Update: Thanks to those who have written to lend their support, and thanks also to Matt Norman, the nephew of Peter, who has thrown his weight behind the campaign to have the mural repainted.

I'll make sure to keep you posted on any progress.

Anonymous said...

well done nosey in newtown activist!

suzysiu said...

You are on top of everything! I am so impressed with this blog.

lucazoid said...

aha! i have been hoarding this news article meaning to scan it in for ages. i loved cruising by mcd town station and seeing that mural, and was mighty annoyed when that ugly wall went up.
here's the dodgily scanned in news article. tis a bewdiful story:
and here's the detail of the image which the mural artist must have worked from:

Karen said...

I did always wonder what that was all about, during my hornsby via strathfield years...

CRANKY said...

UNREAL. I had noticed the mural's obstruction on the train and was disappointed, especially as I'd only recently discovered what it was all about (thanks to coverage of Peter Norman's death... what a champ). Those dudes are heroes. Meanwhile could you imagine Thorpie taking such a stand for anything other than a pink party shirt? Bah on modern athletes. And hooray for you for agitating.

Ginger said...

Good on ya enjoying your blog newtown and area is the suburbs of my wellspent teens -> 20s.

nisch said...

Heard about your site on FBi... I too was extremely saddened when railcorp decided to cover up one of the most important pieces of street art in Sydney...

Posted by editor at 2:47 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 4:10 PM NZT

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