Tia Norfleet is the first and only black woman racecar driver to be licensed by NASCAR. The Suffolk, Virginia native actually began driving at age 4 when she spotted the keys in the ignition of her parent’s minivan. Her inner-driver made its first debut all the way through the front porch of their home.

Three years later, at age 7, her curiosity was fed with a Hot Wheels Barbie car in which her father added an extra battery for power and speed; then onto go-karts and stock cars. Only a few years later, Norfleet had racked up 22 finishes in the top 10. At 24 years old, she was embraced by NASCAR officials.

She races with the number 34, which is the same number as her father, Bobby Norfleet, also a legendary driver who holds the only minority-owned sponsorship to motorsports.  Consequently, the number 34 was also the number of Wendell Scott, the first black to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The young woman driver credits her father for teaching her the ups and downs of racing based on his experience as an African-American man in a predominately non-minority sport.


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2 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Tia Norfleet

  1. Embraced by NASCAR officials??? What a bunch of BS. This woman is a fraud. And you people all look like morons for not checking out her story before publishing this article. How about a follow up story to disclose that this woman is a lying sack of you know what? She’s even wearing a Nationwide Series racing suit in the picture. She is not sactioned for Nationwide Series. You people surely dropped the ball on this one. And you have helped her to perpetuate her fraud to get donations and sponsors. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

  2. cmpayne on said:

    RE: Little Known Black History

    I want to make a suggestion about how the Little Known Black History segment might be used for the remainder of the fall. I’m a student of the civil rights movement and given the pivotal importance of this fall’s election and given the very aggressive attempts at voter suppression across the country, it would make a great deal of sense to devote the LKBH time to reminding people of the cost that has been paid for our right to vote, and that most of that cost was borne by ordinary men and women.

    This would primarily involve profiling or interviewing people who played a role in the struggle for voting rights between, say, 1945 and 1965. I’ve studied the history of Mississippi, and a list of possibilities from that state might include:

    Hartman Turnbow
    Winsome Hudson
    Amzie Moore
    Victoria Gray
    Lawrence Guyot
    Hollis Watkins
    Willie Wazier Peacock
    Sam Black
    Louis Allen
    Herbert Lee
    TRM Howard
    Clyde Kennard
    Vernon Dahmer — If you could find the speech he gave from his hospital bed before he died ( after being firebombed for encouraging people to vote) that might make an appropriate way to end the series. (“People who don’t vote are deadbeats on the state..”)

    This list is just suggestive. Like Mr. Dahmer, many of these people have compelling stories; nearly all of them faced both economic reprisals or violence. (Indeed, it You can occurs to me that you could do something on just the people in each state who were killed in the struggle; the list above has 3 such people.) You can get details or references on nearly all of these from either my book, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle or John Dittmer’s book, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi . John could also help you with the story of the voters’ leagues that developed across the South in the 30’s and 40’s which were one of the key developments. John Dittmer [rip@depauw.edu]

    For a similar list for Alabama, contact Hasan Jeffries at Ohio State, author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt. Dave Dennis can identify some CORE people ddennissr@aol.com
    J CHARLES JONES [cjones11@carolina.rr.com] can identify people from the Carolina’s .You might also want to look at the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website at http://www.crmvet.org/ to identify people and story lines.

    Because it has been almost completely forgotten , the series might begin with the story of the mass evictions in 1959 in Haywood county, TN of people who tried to register.
    See http://www.crmvet.org/tim/timhis59.htm#1959fctc
    I don’t know if any of these people are still around to be interviewed but Daphene McFerren at the Benjamin Hooks Institute in Memphis would know.

    I know you’ve already done the iconic figures like Medgar Evers, Ella Baker, Septima Clark, Fred Shuttesworth and Mrs. Hamer but they could be revisited perhaps by focusing on some of their speeches or writings. The story of Mrs. Hamer’s jailing and beating in Winona jail would make a great segment all by itself. So would her speech at the Democratic Convention in 1964. (In fact, maybe that could be played during this year’s convention.) I would hope you would include something on then-Stokely Carmichael. As famous as he later become, relatively few people are aware of what an effective voting rights organizer he was. You should certainly include Harry T. Moore in Florida , bombed and killed on Christmas eve in 1953, if memory serves. I think I remember you doing a piece on him previously. While I’m biased to keeping the focus away from celebrities, Dick Gregory would have stories to tell. He went into some very dangerous places. From a different point of view, so would Harry Belafonte.

    You could also include interviews with some of the SNCC/CORE workers who were central to these campaigns:

    Lawrence Guyot
    Charlie Cobb– CHARLES COBB [ccobbjr@bellsouth.net]
    Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons [zoharah@religion.ufl.edu]
    Bob Moses
    Martha Prescott Norman marthapnoonan@verizon.net]
    Judy Richardson
    ‘Bob Zellner’ [bobzellner@optonline.net];
    ‘Chuck McDew’ [chuck.mcdew@gmail.com]
    ‘Hollis Watkins’ [hollisam51@hotmail.com];
    ‘Joyce Ladner’ [JoycLadner@aol.com];
    ‘Julian Bond’ [julian_bond@msn.com];

    Their individual stories are interesting but you might also do something where you interview some of them as a group, or have one of them interview the others.. Many of these people are great story tellers. They will also have plenty of ideas about other possible story lines. Beyond what they say about how they see the voting rights movement, it would be good for young people to get a sense of the distinctive values these people developed.

    You get the point; there is more than enough material for two months of programming and everyone you talk to will give you more good ideas. I would hope that listening to a series like that would reinforce for TJMS listeners how important it is that we be politically involved this fall. All apart from the election, this is a moment when powerful and well-heeled forces are doing everything they can be unravel the work of these people; all the more reason for us to lift it up and honor it.
    Please let me know if I can clarify anything or help in anyway.
    Charles Payne
    University of Chicago

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