From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Kentucky Speedway Incident

In 1928, African American auto mechanic and racecar driver Charlie E. Wiggins was driving the pre-race qualifying lap at the Kentucky Speedway in Louisville, KY when white fans protested: the Speedway was "whites-only." A mob broke through the protective fence around the track. Police officers held back the mob, and race officials ordered the Kentucky militia to arrest Wiggins for his own safety.

The police quickly took Wiggins away in a paddy wagon and placed in a jail cell until nightfall, when he could slip out of town. A police report was filed stating that Wiggins was arrested for speeding.

Wiggins would go on to win more races than any other African American racecar driver. Charles Wiggins (1897-1979) was born in Evansville, IN.

For more see D. Hunt, "Brothers in pit, not on oval: a tale of Black drivers," The Philadelphia Tribune, 8/15/2003, vol. 119, issue 78, p. 2C; For Gold and Glory: Charlie Wiggins and the African-American Racing Car Circuit, by T. Gould; and his picture and further information at the Findagrave website.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Philadelphia tribune (newspaper)
NKAA Source: For gold and glory: Charlie Wiggins and the African-American racing car circuit

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“Kentucky Speedway Incident,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-07-14 17:12:15