- Amy Bass: When Olympians raised fists at medal ceremony in 1968, they were forced out
- She says why West Point cadet women raised fists unclear, but gesture has enduring political power
- Bass: With black women underrepresented at West Point, it's not hard to guess what it meant to them
Amy Bass, a professor of history at the College of New Rochelle, is the author of "Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympics and the Making of the Black Athlete." As the supervisor of NBC's Olympic Research Room, she is a veteran of eight Olympics, with an Emmy win in 2012. Follow her on Twitter @bassab1. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
(CNN)When American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists over their heads during the medal ceremony at the Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968, they embodied much of the political turbulence of the era. The photo of the two -- heads bowed, arms outstretched, gold and bronze medals hanging around their respective necks -- became an instant classic, one of the best-known images of the 20th century.