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. Wiggins was 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, 08/15/2003, vol. 119, issue 78, p. 2C; and For Gold and Glory: Charlie Wiggins and the African-American Racing Car Circuit, by T. Gould.