cover image Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist For Justice

Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist For Justice

Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes, illus. by Dawud Anyabwile. Norton Young Readers, $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-324-05215-9

With collaborators Barnes (I Am Every Good Thing) and Anyabwile (Becoming Muhammad Ali), Smith details his childhood leading up to his historic Olympic protest—and its aftermath—in this compelling graphic memoir. Before Smith, who is Black, was an Olympic gold medalist, he and his family of 14 lived in a house with “no running water. No central air-conditioning or heating.” When he was seven, they relocated from Texas to California, where he faced racism from white classmates and school administrators before his white PE teacher Mr. Focht, described as a “good man,” encouraged him to run track. Smith was eventually recruited by San José State University in 1963. Even as his career flourished, however, he couldn’t ignore the racial violence surrounding him. Realizing he “had an obligation—not just to carry the banner of San José State” but “to carry an even larger banner for my people,” Smith raised a fist while on the podium at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Anyabwile’s grayscale art features kinetically illustrated athletic competition, tense racial dynamics, and a large, intricately detailed Black family. Smith’s timely story, whose nonlinear timeline highlights both prominent events during the civil rights movement and Smith’s interpersonal struggles, is a powerful celebration of resistance. Ages 13–up. (Sept.)