Prologue: Caged

(February 19, 1969)


I was caged.

Then, I was driven.

Driven to Cherokee.

A hazy memory of riding caged in the back of a police car.

Two shadows in the front seat, the county sheriff and a female escort.

Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” buzzing from a tinny transistor radio.

Outside, the Iowa landscape bleak:

Cloudy and cold, condensation and frost riming the windows, piles of dirty snow dotting the countryside.

I, cargo.

Destination: Cherokee’s other place, the outline on the hill.

Shifting, crossing my legs…

Please, can we stop?

Hot and steamy inside.

Shivering, my teeth rattling.

Please…I have to go!

Hear something, George?

Naw, nothin’ important.


Cargo has no voice.

Madness has no voice.

Listen, crazy girl…

Two voices: We have come to take you away, ha, ha…

“I’m crazy, crazy…”

Fragments, crazy-quilt impressions, acid flashbacks…

I, crazy?

* * * * *

From I, Driven: a memoir of involuntary commitment ("Prologue")

© 2008-2010, by Jennifer Semple Siegel

Excerpt may not be used or copied without author’s permission.


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

News Clip--October 18, 1968: Gold Medalist Tommie Smith and Bronze Medalist John Carlos Suspended

The U.S. Olympic Committee suspends Gold Medalist Tommie Smith and Bronze Medalist John Carlos for giving the “black power” salute as a protest during the awards ceremony for the 200 meter race. The IOC forces the Olympic Committee to withdraw the two athletes from the relays, banish them from the Olympic Village, and expel them from the Olympic team.

Source and Source

The following six-part BBC documentary provides an in-depth look at the background leading up to Tommie Smith and John Carlos' controversial black power salute, resulting in their permanent ban from the future Olympics, and the ensuing aftermath of that courageous act.

Part 4 is especially poignant, moving, and historically important; viewers are offered in-depth footage of the actual medal ceremony in which Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in solidarity, even as they paid a personal price for their political statement. Parts 5 and 6 emphasize just how much this one act of dissidence changed the Civil Rights Movement.


Black Power Salute (Part 1/6)

Black Power Salute (Part 2/6)

Black Power Salute (Part 3/6)

Black Power Salute (Part 4/6)

Black Power Salute (Part 5/6)

Black Power Salute (Part 6/6)


At the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games the enduring image was Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the African American athletes raising their gloved clenched fists in support of the Black Panther movement during the Star Spangled Banner, they were subsequently banned from the Games for life. This film looks at what inspired them to make their protest, and what happened to them after the Games.

Featuring Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, Bob Beamon and Delroy Lindo. Some strong language.

Thanks, Benandonner1, for posting this awesome documentary. You rock!

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