I saw a movie about the 1st black race car champion driver a few years back that starred Richard Pryor called 'Greased Lightning'. It is the story of America's 1st black race car champion Wendell Scott. This was recently brought back to my attention by an advertisement for this same movie that is to come on TV-One this Saturday. I brushed up up my history of this great sports hero by doing a little research and again, this man and his story fits neatly into what I am doing with the Marshall Taylor Project.
Scott was the 1st, and only African-American then and only, to date to accomplish this great feat! He won dozens of races during long and storied career and one NASCAR Event and finished in the top ten an amazing 147 times. This feat was so admirable because he was always working on a very tight budget, didn't have the best pit crews and numerous other challenges because no one really wanted to sponsor a black Race Car driver.
Like Marshall 'Major' Taylor, he had to contend with racism but he overcame the odds. Like Taylor, one of his wins was snatched from him by the judges awarding the win to one of his well known white rivals during an event. NASCAR did do the right thing a few days later by reversing the decision of the judges after irrefutable evidence of Scott's win. Scott, like Taylor many years before him had to overcome the many obstacles that went along with being the 1st and only black in a major sport to compete. There were racers who wanted him to fail at every turn and even conspired to bring about his failure but he kept on pushing and experienced great success as a stock car driver!
Pioneering blacks in American sports were men of vision and one thing they all shared in common was a love for their chosen sport and the will to succeed despite incredible odds. I marvel at the likes of Tiger Woods, Major Taylor, Wendell Scott, Jack Johnson, Arthur Ashe and others were true visionaries within the black community. After you read this, I want all of you to take a moment to reflect and research the careers of some of the African-American community's greatest and least talked about sports heroes. Without them, the groundwork for the mega sports stars of today would never have been laid and more importantly, the can do attitude of an entire community may never have existed! PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW FOR MORE OF SCOTT'S STORY.
30 August, 2009 Labels: black race car driver, major taylor, major taylor association, marshall taylor, wendell scott Posted by Dale 7:00 AM