Wilma Rudolph

Bringing racial integration to Clarksville, Tennessee

Eleven seconds flat—that’s how long it took for Wilma Rudolph (1940–1994) to streak to victory in the 100-meter sprint and claim Olympic gold at the 1960 Summer Games in Rome. Nicknamed “Skeeter,” the 20-year-old sprinter triumphed in the 200-meter sprint and the 4 x 100-meter relay as well, becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics. On October 4, 1960, Clarksville honored Rudolph’s victories in the city’s first-ever integrated event because Rudolph refused to attend their previously planned segregated event.

Souvenir program for Wilma Rudolph Day

Object Details

October 4, 1960
Subject of
Wilma Rudolph, American, 1940 - 1994
Printed by
A souvenir program celebrating Wilma Rudolph Day in Clarksville, Tennessee on October 4, 1960 commemorating her achievements in the 1960 Summer Olympics. The front of the black-and-white program features a centrally oriented, thatched illustration of Wilma Rudolph with three (3) Olympic gold medals above her head. At the top of the program is the text [WELCOME] centered above the illustration. At the bottom of the front cover is text that reads [WILMA / Souvenir Program / Wilma Rudolph Day / Clarksville Tennessee / October 4, 1960]. The program has two (2) interior pages. The left interior page features an illustration of a plaque by the Citizens of Clarksville in honor of Rudolph’s gold medals, a second illustration of a proclamation by the Mayor of Clarksville naming October 4, 1960 [WELCOME WILMA DAY], and an illustration of three (3) Olympic gold medals. Below the illustrations are three paragraphs of text that give the background of the event and the names of other honored medalists. The right interior page lists a Program of Events. The back of the program is a list of sponsors. There is a handwritten notation in pencil in the top left corner of the front cover. There are handwritten notations, speech times, and check marks in blue ink on the interior right page.
Place used
Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, United States, North and Central America
African American
American South
Race relations
Track and field
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Memorabilia and Ephemera - Other
Sports: Leveling the Playing Field
On View
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Community/Third Floor, 3 052
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of the Rudolph Family in memory of Wilma Rudolph
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Object number
souvenir programs
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
ink on paper
H x W: 10 13/16 × 6 7/8 in. (27.5 × 17.5 cm)
Record ID