I received this book for free from Norton Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile
Published by WW Norton on September 27, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Nonfiction / Activism & Social Justice, Young Adult Nonfiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / Biography, Young Adult Nonfiction / Social Topics / Prejudice & Racism, Young Adult Nonfiction / Sports & Recreation / Olympics & Paralympics
Source: Norton Young Readers
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
Also by this author: I Am Every Good Thing
A groundbreaking and timely graphic memoir from one of the most iconic figures in American sports—and a tribute to his fight for civil rights.
On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships.
In his first-ever memoir for young readers, Tommie Smith looks back on his childhood growing up in rural Texas through to his stellar athletic career, culminating in his historic victory and Olympic podium protest. Cowritten with Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Honor recipient Derrick Barnes and illustrated with bold and muscular artwork from Emmy Award–winning illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand! paints a stirring portrait of an iconic moment in Olympic history that still resonates today.
The National Book Awards are November 16 and one of the books that I’m rooting for is Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile. If you are a fan of John Lewis’ March graphic novel series, then you want to run, not walk to check out Victory. Stand!
I learned so much from this autobiographical graphic novel. It gave me a lot more context for the iconic image of Tommie Smith and John Carlos that I looked up to as a young track runner in high school. This awesome graphic novel tells the life story of Tommie Smith, who is historically known for raising his fist in the Black Power sign during the Olympics. For most of my life, Tommie Smith’s story was reduced to just that one moment. An icon on a poster. A hero to myself and other Black runners on my high school track and field team. But I never knew his story.
Victory. Stand! fills in the blanks surrounding that moment in history. It begins with Tommie Smith’s childhood and builds up to the ultimate choice he and his teammate made on the podium. It tells his life story that begins in rural Texas and continues in California. I learned about his life, athletic interests and abilities and his connection to the Civil Rights Movement. Definitely an intriguing autobiography that gives you both the background that led to his stance on the Olympic podium and the aftermath of the repercussions he dealt with as a result of his choice to stand up and make the plight of Black people in the U.S. visible to the world.
Children and adults will love this engaging graphic memoir. The illustrations are comic book style and I found them easy to follow and visually engaging.
HAVE A SIP OF COCOA ☕…
I came for… the story behind Tommie Smith’s stand.
I stayed for… the intriguing story of Tommie Smith’s life
Hot Cocoa Moments: I had no idea the amount of thought put into the choices Tommie Smith and John Carlos put into what they did on the podium. The shared black gloves, the open jacket, the walking in socks, wearing of the Olympic Project for Human Rights button.
Would I Read it Again: Yes, absolutely. It’s a quick read too, both because of the graphic novel format and the interesting story.
Educator Recommendations: Use. This. Book! This is a great memoir that dives into a first hand account of a lesser known aspect in the Civil Rights movement. It goes into the thinking, research and preparation that college students were engaging in to support the Civil Rights struggle. This book will make students look at activism from another angle. It’s also a great story to discuss the consequences of being an activist and what you have to be ready for when you stand up for what you believe in. This book will generate lots of discussion, shed lots of light on little known history and really challenge students to think about their own impact on things bigger than them, just like Tommie Smith had to in his own story.