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Black power and the rise of Trumplandia

Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) give famous "black power salute." Photo by John Dominis was taken during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Furman University Education professor Paul Thomas draws from his formative years in the 1960s and 1970s to inform the opinion piece he penned for the HuffPost. In it, Thomas compares “black power” as it appeared then and “black power” viewed now. For Thomas, “black power” manifested itself, he says, “in two forms–pop culture versions of blaxploitation media, including “Luke Cage, Hero for Hire,” “Shaft,” and real-world protests such as John Carlos and Tommie Smith, with black gloves and fists raised at the 1968 Olympics.” Fast forward to 2017 where “black power” is displayed “in the form of economic power, a rising economic autonomy by blacks that likely played a major role in motivating Trump’s supporters who seek to keep the U.S. white,” says Thomas. Among other books, Thomas is author of Trumplandia, Unmasking Post-Truth America (2017, Garn Press). He is a recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English George Orwell Award.

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