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Historical social rights activists speak at local university Monday

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It's an iconic image from the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City.

"We still follow the rules of Dr. King in terms of saying we want to make a statement that would be very powerful and everlasting but even more so nonviolent," John Carlos, 1968 Olympic medalist, said.

Tommie Smith and John Carlos won medals in track and field. Instead of boycotting the entire Olympics when asked by a human rights organization, they stood up with this silent gesture.

A message that lives on 48 years later.

"Hopefully, unity and the idea that because we look different that doesn't make us different," Tommie Smith said.

But they were looked at differently after they made that statement. They were suspended from the United States team and criticized by those around them.

"They were willing to sacrifice everything you worked for as an athlete. It's about the win. It's about the trophy. The medal. It's about the win. They were willing to give up everything for the cause," Gary Jones, at Oklahoma Christian University, said.

That's why these men are speaking at Oklahoma Christian University Monday night.

They want to show young people THAT athletics isn't just about winning awards.

"If we can't make it a better world in our lifetime, then we hope we could do something to make change for our kids to make a better life," Carlos said.

Tommie smith and John Carlos will speak at the Hardemen Auditorium at Oklahoma Christian University at 7 p.m. on Monday.

Tickets are free, but guests must reserve a seat.