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January 30, 2003
Woods Hole Black History Month Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Talk by Olympic Medalist John Carlos to Highlight 2003 Events

WOODS HOLE, MA—The Woods Hole Black History Month Committee is pleased to announce the 2003 Woods Hole Black History Month events. This year marks the 25th year that the Woods Hole community has joined to celebrate African American history and culture. All events are free and open to the public.

The month-long celebration will kick off at noon on Friday, February 7 in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Redfield Auditorium on Water Street in Woods Hole with a talk by George Spivey, Equity/Affirmative Action Officer for the Town of Falmouth.  Spivey will present "The Souls of Black Folk: Poetry and Song, From the 1700s to the Present."  Spivey’s lecture reflects upon the 2003 national Black History Month theme which honors one of the most important books of the 20th century, The Souls of Black Folk, written by scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois.

According to Spivey, "The souls of black folk are poignantly revealed in the poems and songs of slaves, Negroes, coloreds, Blacks, African American, and multicultural individuals."  The threads that weave a bond in all of their expressions, he says, are love, hope, freedom, and independence.  These universal themes touch the minds and souls of all people and declare that the world is "No Place for Hate."   Spivey will explore the poetry of Sterling Brown, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and many others and discuss how their voices raise and answer questions about the African experience in the Americas.

Spivey received his A.B. in Government in 1968 from Dartmouth College and his Masters in Education from the Harvard School of Education in 1979. He was employed by Falmouth Public Schools from 1983 to 2000 and held positions of teacher, careers department chairman, coordinator of alternative education, and principal.  Spivey is currently the Equity/Affirmative Action Officer for the Town of Falmouth and Falmouth Public Schools.  In that position, he has brought the "No Place for Hate" campaign to Falmouth.  The initiative, created by the Anti-Defamation League and the Massachusetts Municipal Association, empowers communities to respect diversity and prevent and respond to hate crimes in their towns.

At noon on Friday, February 14, John Carlos, recipient of the 1968 Olympic bronze medal in the Mens 200-meter will present "The Olympic Experience of 1968: Before, During, and After" in the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Lillie Auditorium on MBL Street in Woods Hole.  Carlos made international headlines during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City when he and his teammate, gold medal recipient, Tommie Smith, raised their black-gloved fists on the medal platform in protest against racism and the economic mistreatment of all oppressed peoples in the world. Their controversial protest was one of the most memorable events of the civil rights era.  Carlos will speak about this experience as well as the hardships he suffered both financially and socially in the aftermath of this bold demonstration.

Carlos was born in Harlem, New York, in 1945. Noted for his exceptional abilities in track and field, he was awarded a full scholarship to East Texas State University (ETSU), where he single-handedly won the school’s first and only track and field Lone Star Conference Championship.  After one year at ETSU, he matriculated to San Jose State University. It was while he was a student at San Jose State that he participated in the 1968 Olympics and won the bronze medal.  After the Olympics, Carlos continued his education at San Jose State and in 1969 established himself as one of the most dominant sprinters in history by leading the university to its first NCAA track and field championship, breaking the world record in the 100-yard dash.

After an illustrious career in track and field, Carlos was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1970.  Due to a knee injury, he played with the Eagles for just one year, but continued his football career, playing for the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts, each for one  season.   Carlos was subsequently hired by the Puma Company to negotiate shoe contracts with track and field athletes.  Since that time, he has worked for the Olympics, the city of Los Angeles, and presently is the track and field coach and an In-School Suspension Supervisor for Palm Springs High School in Palm Springs, California.  Carlos is co-author of Why: The Biography of John Carlos, With CD Jackson, Jr., published in 2000.

Woods Hole Black History festivities will conclude on Thursday, February 27 in the Marine Biological Laboratory's Swope Center, North Street, Woods Hole with a roundtable discussion, "Remembering Black History Month, 1978-2003." Moderated by Dr. Ambrose Jearld, Jr., charter member and former Chair of the Woods Hole Black History Month Committee, the discussion will reflect on Black History Month observances in Woods Hole and in the nation.  Participants include people who played a role in Woods Hole observances, either as founders, participants, or planners in the early years including Joe Daluz, former President of the Cape Cod Branch of the NAACP, Eugenia Fortes, Hyannis human and civil rights activist, and Vodray Mills, Educator and counselor Cape Cod Community College.  Dr. Jearld will encourage the audience to participate, either by sharing their observations or by asking questions of the roundtable participants.

The annual Harambee celebration will immediately follow the roundtable discussion from 4:30 to 7:30 pm in the Swope Center. The Harambee, an ethnic potluck feast, will include live music by Jack Leyden, Tony Bailey, and Erica Lewis, storytelling by Vird Williams, and afrocentric handicrafts by Wright Creations

Further information on any of these events can be found on the Woods Hole Black History Month website or by calling the Marine Biological Laboratory Communications Office at (508) 289-7423.

Woods Hole Black History Month events are sponsored by the Marine Biological Laboratory; the National Marine Fisheries Service; the U.S. Coast Guard Group Woods Hole; the U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Field Center; and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.