For Gold and Glory: Charlie Wiggins and the African-American Racing Car Circuit

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Indiana University Press, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 212 pages
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The companion book to the PBS television special of the same name, For Gold and Glory retraces the little-known history of the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes. This highly celebrated auto-racing event for African Americans was held in Indiana and throughout the Midwest during the racial turbulence of the 1920s and 1930s, when the Ku Klux Klan cast a shadow over the social and political landscape of the state and region. The story is told through the eyes and emotions of Indianapolis auto mechanic Charlie Wiggins. The greatest African American driver of the era, Wiggins was known as the ""Negro Speed King.""

In this book, Wiggins' widow, Roberta, and the drivers, families, and other eyewitnesses to the old ""Gold and Glory"" races recount vivid stories of his career, such as Charlie's unexpected run-in with the KKK in Kentucky, his outrageous stunts to help promote the black racing circuit, and his strange relationship with the notorious gunman John Dillinger. Set against the colorful backdrop of gangsters, bootleggers, the birth of jazz, and the early history of auto racing in the United States, For Gold and Glory chronicles the tragedies and triumphs of a dedicated group of individuals who overcame tremendous odds to chase their dreams. Theirs is a uniquely American story.

 

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