Tucker to receive Tommie Smith Award

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MHS senior football player Armari Tucker has been selected to receive the Tommie Smith Award from the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement at Madison College and the Student Diversity, Engagement and Success at UW-Whitewater.

Tucker plays running back and defensive line for the Cardinals. He has 10 yards on two carries and seven tackles for loss and a sack. Tucker has missed part of the season with a broken hand that will need surgery, coach Jason Pertzborn said.

Tucker is a member of the MHS Black Student Union. He is also participated in the Minority Student Achievement Network, a coaltion of multicultual school districts from around the United States. He volunteers to help Black elementary students in the District with their reading and writing. He also volunteers at his church.

"Armari has been a leader at MHS,'' Pertzborn said. "He works very hard to succeed in school. He mentors many and is a great leader. He is committed to social justice. He is very deserving of this award.''

The other honorees are Madison West swimmer and soccer player Maka Chikowero, Madison College soccer player Jonas Luskey Sanders, and Madison College baseball player Eduardo Saucedo. The four will be recognized at a virtual ceremony starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 27.

The Tommie Smith Awards honor student-athletes who found ways through sports and actiivism to make a difference beyond the playing field and impact the world. Award recipients reflect the spirit of Smith, demonstrating a commitment to social justice, community activism, and positive change for the campus.

Smith, 76, won the gold medal, breaking the world and Olympic record in the 200 meters with a time of 19.83 seconds at the 1968 Mexico City Games. He and countryman John Carlos offered a controversial Black Power salute atop the medal podium to protest racism and injustice against Blacks in the United States.

Smith later played wide receiver in the American Football League.

Smith, who has a doctorate, completed his autobiography, “Silent Gesture” published by Temple University Press in January 2007. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the literary category autobiography and biography. The story of the “Silent Gesture” is captured in the 1999 HBO TV documentary: "Fists of Freedom".

He was awarded the Peace Abby Courage of Conscience Award and the ESPYS Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2008. Smith has been inducted into the California Sports Hall Of Fame. Since 2016, he has also been featured in the Smithsonian African American Museum. He received the International Peace Prize in Dresden Germany in 2018.

is an American former track & field athlete and former wide receiver in the American Football League. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, Smith, aged 24, won the 200-meter sprint finals and gold medal in 19.83 seconds – the first time the 20-second barrier was broken officially. His Black Power salute with John Carlos atop the medal podium to protest racism and injustice against African-Americans in the United States caused controversy, as it was seen as politicizing the Olympic Games. It remains a symbolic moment in the history of the Black Power movement.