Athlete Tommie Smith has said the controversial raised fist gesture he made at the 1968 Mexico Olympics was not a Black Power salute but a human rights salute.
The picture of Smith, John Carlos and Australian competitor Peter Norman on the winner's podium after the men's 200m final is still considered one of the most powerful images in modern history.
New documentary, Salute, tells the true story behind that image and how in one peaceful but inflammatory moment of political protest as they received their medals on the podium, the careers of the three men would be destroyed.
Talking to Sky News the gold medallist explained the thinking behind the brave act.
"I view it as a cry for hope. I view it as a structural need to assess the power of a system we didn't have," Smith said.
"We thought it was high time for the young black athlete who was sought out to talk, who was seen on a level, to speak out towards proactivity that wasn't happening in the system.
"This was one of our ways to say we couldn't speak, because we didn't have a platform. We only had a platform to be seen."
In the 1968 200m final, Peter Norman ran the race of his life and split Tommie Smith and John Carlos, winning silver.
As they waited for the presentation ceremony, Smith and Carlos told Norman of their plans.
One had left behind his pair of black gloves, and at Norman's suggestion, they wore one each.
Despite it not being a situation that affected him directly, Norman asked the Americans if he could join their protest.
He felt there was a moral imperative on him to stand up against something he felt was wrong. Like Smith and Carlos, Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of their silent protest.
"He wore the button because he backed human rights. There are people who say 'he backed Tommie Smith and John Carlos'. Peter backed his belief," Smith explained.
Lasting repercussions followed. Smith and Carlos were dropped from the relays and the team. They were kicked out of the Olympics and banned for life. Their lives were ruined, with Carlos' wife later committing suicide.
The punishment of Norman was less dramatic but ultimately as destructive. Coming from a conservative family in a country that still had a white-only immigration policy, Norman's stance caused a storm. He was hated in parts of the Australian establishment and the media turned on him.