Charlie Wiggins, a.k.a. the “Negro Speed King” was the first black man to win a major racecar competition in America. The shoeshine boy from Evansville, Indiana shined the shoes of an auto repair shop owner, who, in turn, made him the best mechanic in the town of Evansville. Young Charlie could tell what kind of car was coming down the road just by hearing the engine. With growing car production in Indianapolis, Wiggins uprooted his family, moved to the new city and opened a garage. Many of his customers were drivers of the Indianapolis 500.
Wiggins would build “The Wiggins Special,” his own special race car. The ride was rejected by the Indianapolis 500 many times. White owners loved his car, but racial ignorance of the 1920’s kept "The Negro Speed King" off the major tracks. He lived during a time when southern Indiana racism was at its height and members of the KKK dominated the city.
Frustrated, the black drivers formed their own league and started competing. Wiggins won many races, earning the name, “The Negro Speed King.”
Riding on a makeshift dirt track, the only way for the drivers to see was to look up and follow the trees surrounding them. When black businessmen got wind of the competition, the Gold & Glory Sweepstakes event was born. Wiggins won four of the races.
Unfortunately, he also became a target of the KKK. They often ransacked his garage and threatened his life. It wasn’t until he took a secret job as pit crew for white driver, Wild Bill Cummings in 1936, that he set foot in the Indianapolis 500 speedway. That same year, however, Wiggins suffered an amputation after a 13-car wreck in the Gold & Glory, which ended his driving career.
Wiggins, former champion driver, dedicated his time to teaching black mechanics until his death in 1979.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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