Cal State Fullerton Student Finds Passion in Sports, History and Law

Ashley Loup, a graduate student in American studies at Cal State Fullerton, brought her love for sports and culture together in her paper “Gloved Fists and Bowed Heads: The Legacy and Public Memory of the 1968 Olympics.” She focused on Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two African American athletes who raised a “human rights salute” (which was coded as a “Black Power salute”) at the medal ceremony of the 1968 Games in Mexico City.

Smith and Carlos were shunned and deemed anti-patriotic for their protest, and Loup concluded that it takes time for cultures to recognize the reasons for, and appreciate the importance of, protest and peaceful demonstration. 

Her research on Smith and Carlos led her to her next topic: the ban of the dunk in the 1960s. She studied the way college basketball banned the dunk as UCLA basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, dominated with the maneuver. Loup's research aimed to uncover the racial connotations associated with the ban.

Continue reading in the Orange County Register.


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