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Black-skinned drivers in the USA


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#1 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 06:13

When in Indianapolis last week, I have bought a recent book :
- Todd Gould, "For Gold and Glory (Charlie Wiggins and the African-American racing car circuit)", Indiana University Press, 27.50 $

This very documented & well written book is a biography of Charlie Wiggins who was a driver cum-mechanic in the '1920-1930s and rode a indy-like car in non-AAA races in this period. Non-AAA because this club did not license non-white people as drivers nor mechanics within its events.
And too, an excellent historical context regarding the human rights and racial discrimination in Indiana.

Incidentally, it published the entry lists for every of the annual 1924-1936 "Gold and Glory" 100-Mile race at Indianapolis Fairgrounds dirt-track, along with each race winner & runner-up, and it evocated there was a series of races for "colored" drivers each year, where some second-hand indy cars along with specials were used.

Does somebody knows, by a kind of miracle, more on these ? I.e. dates & locations of races cum winner ? & other details ?

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 08:17

Jimmy: there was a long discussion about black drivers at the Racing History e-Group last year. This link will take you to the first message. From there on, just keep clicking on "Messages" and look for appropriate message titles - it's a bit difficult to navigate, I'm afraid.

http://groups.yahoo....y/message/18840

#3 D-Type

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 09:15

Originally posted by bertocchi
Doya think you might've titled this thread a LOT better?


I disagree.

The words Jimmy Piget has used are accurate to describe the subject he wishes to discuss. Any reader should realise that he is not being racist and that there is no intention of being offensive. Bertoccci, What title would you have used?

I must admit I find this subject very difficult, as words change meaning with time and from country to country.

In my youth, "negro" was considered the correct term to use. It is now considered offensive.

In Mark Twain's time the word "nigger" was common currency. In South Africa the term "kaffir" originally referred to a tribe of natives in the Cape region. In Northern and Southern Rhodesia the term "munt" was used as a slang term, being derived from the native word muntu which simply means man. Nowadays these usages are so offensive that you have to apologise and explain if you use them.

As far as I know, in the USA use of the term "Coloured" is not yet considered offensive, merely old-fashioned. In South Africa it was a legal term for people of mixed race. "White" and "Non-white" were also South African legal terms.

There is a very narrow gap between being politically correct and being patronising. Personally I cringe when anybody uses terms like "Darkie", "Dusky", "Person of Colour", or the like. The usage may have been well meant but today it generally sounds so patronising.

"African-American" - is too explicit to as it excludes those non-white Americans whose ancestry is not African, for example: Inuit (formerly known as Eskimo), Australian Aboriginal, Melanesian, Tamil, Middle Eastern, or any of the diverse races that make up this planet of ours.

Edited by D-Type, 18 October 2012 - 20:30.


#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 09:31

Originally posted by D-Type

I disagree.

The words Jimmy Piget has used are accurate to describe the subject he wishes to discuss. Any reader should realise that he is not being racist and that there is no intention of being offensive.


... and allowance should be made for the fact that English is not Jimmy's first language. Unless you are fluent in a foreign language it is often very difficult to express the exact meaning you wish to convey and/or avoid unintentional offence.

#5 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 13:12

Having moved to Indy this last December from Texas, I have surprised how
racially tolerate this part of America is. In fact, we have seen more Black
drivers in the Indy 500 than in other forms of racing in my opinion. Last
year one of the Mack brothers did the 500, he is now doing the Craftsman
Truck Series with NASCAR and his younger brother is doing the Infiniti Pro
series and participated in the first Freedom 100 at the Speedway on May
17th.

I believe Jimmy is French and as a result as an American I am honored that
he follows our big race with such passion. I think he even attended this year's race as a gift from his wife. I hope he had a good time and that he
enjoyed the nice Indiana hospitality that I have enjoyed.

I am proud to say that we have several other promising young Black drivers
working their way up through the ranks. I was also pleasantly surprised at
how many Black fans there were at this year's 500. This only shows me how
positive the whole racing scene is becoming in America, particularly in
the current economy.

Clearly Jimmy did NOT mean anything mean or anything politically incorrect.

#6 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 13:15

I forgot to mention Willie T. Ribbs who had a good run at the 500 in the '90s. He was backed almost exclusively by Bill Cosby who has a done a lot
to help young people in this country. He takes a very low profile on his
donations, but I for a fact that he has given huge sums to several Black
Universities.

#7 ensign14

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 14:29

Just like to mention that I really enjoyed the book and was horrified by the fact that I don't recall ever reading about anything like this in any other work.

The racism the drivers suffered was bad enough, but then to be airbrushed by silence...I'm sure the latter was not deliberate as it was more or less a sideline to motoring, but when Willy T was making his debut at Indy I don't remember anyone bringing back the memories of Charlie Wiggins et al.

#8 bs

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 14:41

There was, of course, Wendell Scott in NASCAR. Competed in around 500 races, hurt at Talledaga in the early '70's. This has probably already been discussed here, maybe in one of the film threads, but Richard Pryor made a movie of his life called "Greased Lightning".

#9 Ron Scoma

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 15:03

I think one of the "sports channels" in the USA, ESPN perhaps, produced a show on Black drivers that was broadcast in February.
February is Black History Month in the US and all the networks scramble to provide some meaningful content on little known, to most at least, aspects of "Black life." This program was better than most and quite fascinating.
It's difficult enough to get involved in racing but to be Black, and in racing, makes the accomplishments of those few who did even more noteworthy.
I will try to get a copy of the program, or at least the details.
Cheers,

Ron
As an off topic comment, my observation is that most people like to talk about "talking about race relations", rather than actually sitting down and having any sort of meaningful discussion for the fear of "offending" someone or somebody, that's why progress has been slow to non existent.
I remember the days when people were not so offensive, or easily offended.

#10 theunions

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 16:40

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Having moved to Indy this last December from Texas, I have surprised how
racially tolerate this part of America is. In fact, we have seen more Black
drivers in the Indy 500 than in other forms of racing in my opinion. Last
year one of the Mack brothers did the 500, he is now doing the Craftsman
Truck Series with NASCAR and his younger brother is doing the Infiniti Pro
series and participated in the first Freedom 100 at the Speedway on May
17th.


Lloyd Mack did NOT race in the Freedom 100, despite his being in the 2003 IPS media guide. He had an accident earlier in the year which cost him his IPS ride.

#11 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 17:53

Sorry for the error, but he was listed on the entry list that was in the Suite I was in during qualifying, so I assumed...You would think they would
have updated something like that. I was actually racing myself that weekend
at Road America or I would have obviously caught my and their mistake.

The point I was obviously trying to make is that to me it appears that more
and more young Black drivers are making a go at it and that I admire their
efforts. In fact, I am currently trying to help one of them from Phoenix, his name is Shawn Greene and he needs $250,000 to do the Barber Series.

#12 David Birchall

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 19:05

Willie T. Ribbs father "Bunny" also raced so I suppose they belong in the "Fathers and sons" thread. I met them both at Monterey in the late seventies when Bunny mistook the car I was driving, The Lucas/Whitehead Climax Special, for an Elva MkIV which Bunny used to drive. I met him several times after that at Monterey and at Seattle when Willie was racing there. He was/is a real gentleman and enthusiast.

#13 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 20:01

Originally posted by David M. Kane
In fact, I am currently trying to help one of them from Phoenix, his name is Shawn Greene and he needs $250,000 to do the Barber Series.


Can you get me 250 too? Im even from Phoenix :p

#14 Vicuna

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 20:34

In NZ our native Maori people are brown rather than black skinned.

Many may know that the game Rugby Union is something of a religion here. It is one of the few sports that bring Maori and Europeans together as equals both on and off the field.

In the early 1970's a former NZ Maori rugby player Teroi Tataurangi won two consecutive NZ Go Kart titles.

For golf enthusiasts out there - you poor, desperate masocists - the name Phillip Tataurangi may mean something.

Phillip is Teroi's son.

#15 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 20:45

Sure Ross, send me the 15% commission and I'll send you the money...

#16 bpratt

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 20:45

The For Gold and Glory t.v. show was broadcast on PBS (public broadcasting in the USA) last Sunday on the Detroit PBS station. For some reason the west coast of Canada cable t.v. package includes Detroit (as well as the Seattle PBS station). You might go to www.pbs.org (or something like that) to find out about buying the book and the video.

I did notice a few still photos of the Brits Drive-In car driven by Rajo Jack. Idaho Don Radbruch knew (knows?) someone who was working on a bio of Rajo. (Hey Don, I still can't get through your spam protection.)

There seems to be quite a number of black drivers in drag racing these days.

#17 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 20:59

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Sure Ross, send me the 15% commission and I'll send you the money...


15%? Starting deal is 5 baby, and it comes out of your half of the money not mine.

#18 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 22:36

Of course, (and thank you D Type, Vitesse 2 and David), never did I mean anything racist in my words. And how can I do ? My present wife is Arabic (from Algeria) and my companion before her was from the Martinique Island, with a wonderful ink-like skin.
Of course too, I can hardly talk with the "politically correct" idioms, I can only translate from French the adequate terms.
And, BTW, as a European, I always had a bizarre sensation from the idiom "African-American". Does that mean, more or less mute, that these people are not "true" Americans ? As long as I do not read somewhere the idiom "European-Americans", I wonder...

Well, I intended this thread to unearth, if possible, the achievements of the "outlawed" & discrimated drivers of the '1920-1930s.
For the indy car-like races from this period must be included in our records.

To David : I confess I have found the 500 so exciting, so amazing, so convivial too that now my best desire is to come back next year...
And a special thanks to the Indianapolis people, spectators of the Raceway but also bus drivers, hotel grooms, shop employees, etc., who all had always patiently repeated slowly their words in order that I can understand what they say, and always with the kindest smiles.

Sure, I'll come back to Indiana.

#19 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 22:44

Dream on Ross, dream on...

Jimmy I glad you had such a great time. Until you been to the Speedway you
just can't imagine the magnitude of the place both in size and in psychological impact. I haven't missed a race since 1950, but the was the
first time I was actually at the track. The television coverage is very, very good; but when you look to your left, then you look to your right and
all you see is a mass of people, you can't imagine what a crowd of that size does to you visually and pyschologically.

The best part was that it was such an exciting race with a great finish.

If you come next year, we will need to go and have a drink together and talk some racing.

Dream on Ross, dream on...

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 22:57

I know of no full blood Australian Aboriginals racing.

There might be some in remote speedway events, I guess, but I've never seen any anywhere.

#21 LittleChris

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 00:01

Can someone remind me , who was the Manchester based Jamaican driver who won Clsass B of the British F3 Championship in the late 80's Carlton Tingling comes to mind, but I'm not sure . Whoever, it was sad that he didn't get to progress, for whatever reason.

#22 Geoff E

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 08:21

Originally posted by LittleChris
Can someone remind me , who was the Manchester based Jamaican driver who won Clsass B of the British F3 Championship in the late 80's Carlton Tingling comes to mind, but I'm not sure . Whoever, it was sad that he didn't get to progress, for whatever reason.


You are right - Jamaican apparently:- http://www.clarinet....h/champfp85.htm

#23 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 20:50

Here are the results as I picked them out of the "Gold & Glory" book :

• Colored Speedway Association races — free-for-all

1924
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Aug 2) Malcolm Hannon (Barber-Warnock Ford-Frontenac 122)

1925
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Aug 8) Bobby Lee Wallace (own Ford-Frontenac 122)
3 races (USA) Bobby Lee Wallace (own Ford-Frontenac 122)
7 races (USA) ? ( ? / ?)

1926
Roby (USA) Hammerton Bobby Lee Wallace (own Ford-Frontenac 122)
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Aug 7) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Dayton (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Chicago (USA) Harlem Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Cleveland (USA) North Randall Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Detroit (USA) Fairgrounds (Sep ) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Keokuk (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Langhorne (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
South Bend (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
2 races (USA) ? ( ? / ?)

1927
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Jul 4) Bill James (own Graham / Ford-Frontenac)
Quakertown (USA) (Oct 2) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
etc.

1928
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Jul 4) Bill Jeffries (own Ford-Frontenac)
Akron (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
etc.

1929
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Jul 4) Barney Anderson (own Ford-Frontenac)
Dayton (USA ? ( ? / ?)
etc.

1930
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Jul 4) Gene Smith (Boyle Miller)
Walnut Gardens (USA) (Aug 17) cancelled because of racial tensions
Mitchell (USA) ? ( ? / ?)
etc.

1931
Gold & Glory 50 (USA) Walnut Gardens (Jul 4) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Winchester (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
etc.

1932
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Sep 24) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Evansville (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Louisville (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
Madison (USA) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
etc.

1933
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Walnut Gardens (Aug 21) Charlie Wiggins (own Wiggins / Ford-Wiggins)
etc.

1934
no information

1935
Gold & Glory 100 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Jul 4) cancelled necause of money robbed
etc.

1936
Gold & Glory 50 (USA) Indianapolis Fairgrounds (Sep 20) Bill Carson (Boyle Miller)
etc.

No such races after 1936

A lot of gaps to fill, aren't they ?

PS : Yep, David, next time we'll have a drink cum-talk...
Everything is fantastic in the Indy race, including the sound (largely different from what the TV or even my video camera provide back.
Including the smell. Including the touch : walking across the track early on race day, caressing the cars, shaking hands with drivers...
All senses are mobilized.

#24 Jim Thurman

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 22:27

Originally posted by Ron Scoma
I think one of the "sports channels" in the USA, ESPN perhaps, produced a show on Black drivers that was broadcast in February.
February is Black History Month in the US and all the networks scramble to provide some meaningful content on little known, to most at least, aspects of "Black life." This program was better than most and quite fascinating.
It's difficult enough to get involved in racing but to be Black, and in racing, makes the accomplishments of those few who did even more noteworthy.
I will try to get a copy of the program, or at least the details.


ESPN Classic and it was shown on ESPN - twice, and I managed to miss it both airings!.

Through a third party, I pointed them to Joie Ray, though I doubt my name appears in the end credits anywhere (oh well, after my first stats project wound up in Vintage Motorsport uncredited, I'm used to it - whine, whine, grumble :) ). But, I'm glad to have helped.

I heard it was very well done.


Jim Thurman

#25 Jim Thurman

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Posted 31 May 2003 - 22:35

Jimmy,

Sadly, I have nothing more to add to the "Gold & Glory" or CSA circuit as I just found out about it's existence a few years ago myself.

I am aware of some Black/Afican-American short track ovals that were listed in Allan E. Brown's "The History of America's Speedways - Past & Present".

White Sox Park in Los Angeles.

American Giants Ball Park in Chicago (home of the Negro League baseball Chicago American Giants)

The two previous being around baseball fields.

Vista Speedway in Lanham, Maryland

Lithonia Speedway in Lithonia, Georgia.

The latter two 1/4 mile dirt ovals that operated in the 50's and 60's.

I would be interested myself in learning more about races at these tracks in addition to the CSA circuit.


Jim Thurman

#26 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:39

As a byproduct of my US Big Car research, I came about some information on "colored" races, too, so I can fill out a few blanks here, and maybe correct an error or two. For starters, it is my impression that most of these races were more of an "ad-hoc" nature, and not part of an organized series of races. Whether there was actually a sanctioning body behind them, or a more-or-less loosely connected group of promoters, is difficult to establish from this distance in time. Fact is, I never found the name "Colored Speedway Association" in any document, but a number of different names instead:

- Colored Auto Racing Association (Chicago, 1924 & Indianapolis, 1930)
- (Chicago) Colored Race Drivers Association (1925/6)
- Indianapolis Colored Speedway (1926/7)
- Indianapolis Colored Auto Racing Association (1928)
- Indianapolis Auto Racing Association (1930)
- Gold & Glory Racing Association (Indianapolis, 1936/7)

It may be that all of these names refered to the same organisation, perhaps renamed and reformed several times, or that notoriously superficial newspaper men "marbled" the correct name(s) over and over, but my impression is that there were generally two strong local groups who independently organised "colored" races, with some interaction since the two cities involved are not that far from each other (Indianapolis and Chicago). Most of the leading drivers were from one of those two cities, too, so that there was always a healthy rivalry, and the atmosphere of a match between the home team and the visitors, much like in a ball game! Lesser centres of "colored" racing activity were to be found in Detroit and, for a very short time, Los Angeles, but the latter soon died away for want of interest on the side of the competitors, it seems.

Most of the promoters seem to have specialised in this form of racing, and names like Alvin D. Smith, Harry A. Earl, G. N. T. Gray, J. E. "Speed" Green, Leroy Currey or John Zener do not appear on the masthead of any other races that I have found. Some of the races were promoted by "colored" drivers, like Bill Jeffries or Wilbur Gaines, and even Howdy Wilcox, the former Indy driver who was banned by the AAA because of his diabetes and subsequent lawsuit against the IMS, appears to have promoted a few "colored" events. Speaking of the involvement of "white" racing people, for Wilcox was certainly not alone (Speed Green was almost certainly caucasian, too), many of the car owners were "white", too, and amongst them I found the name of Roscoe Dunning, quite famous as a car owner and mechanic at Indy and other AAA events. There were also, occasionally, match races between "colored" and "white" drivers, and amongst the latter George Beck, Les Adair and Harry McQuinn were advertised to compete, but the only match race of which I found a report was on September 14, 1924, at Chicago's Hawthorne track, where Beck defeated Bill Jeffries over a 5-mile distance - the newspaper suspected a "hippodrome", though.

Attendance and purse figures are always a bit "iffy" when gleaned from newspaper reports, but generally they seem to have been on par with other events of similar nature, i.e. effectively "Class B" independent racing. After the seventh Gold & Glory race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on July 4, 1930, however, there was clearly a break in the "normal" run of things, as the promoter (Gray) abruptly ceased his involvement with the sport, claiming that the drivers and owners had just "killed the golden hen". Apparently, there had been a sort of strike going on for more money, yet the race went ahead as planned. However, attendance and purses dropped off dramatically over the next few years, no doubt also due to the economic crisis, but the sport never really recovered - quite in contrast to the overall picture of dirt track racing, which was booming all over the US in the thirties.

As for rules, they were almost certainly "run what ya brung", free for all, Formula Libre - whatever you want to call it, for all of the races. One promoter expressed his preference for single seaters, but stated that two-man cars would be allowed as well. For the 1927 Gold & Glory race, however, there was one reference to a limit of 122 cubic inches for displacement, which doesn't make much sense since by then practically all the cars were Fronty-Fords, which are 177 CID, of course. Maybe it was a bit of PR ballyhoo, claiming some sort of "international flair" by mentioning the former Indy limit, or (less likely) a typo for 177. Pictures of the cars, especially in the early years show the ubiquitous and familiar Fronty silhouette over and over, perhaps a sign that the skilled work needed to form body panels was not readily available to the "colored" racers, who usually had to make do with more simple jobs in everyday life. Frontenac sold all the parts necessary for the DIY racing car builder at reasonable prices, including kits for the engine conversion. Again, from pictures, as detailed info is not available, most (if not all) of the cars appear to have been 8-valve jobs, the DO kit being out of the price range, it would seem. Later, in the thirties, cars became a bit more sophisticated, with Laurel-Roof, Riley, Hal and Dreyer heads, and probably including some DOs - not at all different from other independent clubs. A few interesting hand-me-downs made an appearance as well, including the ex-Clay Weatherly Studebaker and even one of the Indy 500 Cooper front drives!

And now, to the list of individual races of which I found info. As usual, the gamut runs from ads or mere mentions of particular races to full entry lists, but generally the recording of these races left much to be desired. Promoters often found newspapers helpful in providing previews, but rarely did those papers care to publish more than a line or two about the actual happenings on the track - unless there was an accident, of course (preferably with deaths, or at least serious injury!). Even the "black" papers weren't much better, with the odd exception, though.

1924

Aug 2, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Malcolm Hannon (Barber-Warnock/Frontenac)
Sep 14, Hawthorne Track, Cicero (IL), 50 miles, Sam Jones (Frontenac)

1925

May 31, Thornton Speedway, Thornton (IL), 20 miles, Bobby Wallace (Graham/Frontenac?)
Aug 8, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Bobby Wallace (Graham/Frontenac)

1926

Jul 4, Roby Speedway, Hammond (IN), 50 miles, Bill Carson (Carson/Frontenac?)
Aug 7, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Frontenac)
Sep 11, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 25 miles?, no info

1927

May 30, Windsor (ON), Barney Anderson (Frontenac) - info suspect
Jul 4, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Bill James (Graham/Frontenac)
Jul 4, Arden Downs Fairgrounds, Washington (PA), no info
Oct 2, Bucks County Fairgrounds, Quakertown (PA), Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Frontenac) - info suspect

1928

Jul 4, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Bill Jeffries (Jeffries/Frontenac)
Aug 26, Roby Speedway, Hammond (IN), 40 miles, Charlie Wiggins (Hannon/Morton-Brett?)

1929

Jul 4, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Barney Anderson (Anderson/Frontenac)
Jul 14, Akron-Cleveland Speedway, Akron (OH), 100 miles?, no info
Aug 4, Wisconsin State Fair Park, West Allis (WI), 15 miles, Bobby Wallace (Dunning/Frontenac?)
Sep 22, Sunflower Speedway, Brazil (IN), no info

1930

Jun 22, Walnut Gardens Speedway, Camby (IN), no info
Jul 4, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, Gene Smith (Smith/Frontenac)
Jul 20, Walnut Gardens Speedway, Camby (IN), 15 miles, no info
Aug 17, Walnut Gardens Speedway, Camby (IN), no info

1931

Jul 4, Funk's Motor Speedway, Winchester (IN), Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Frontenac) - winner info suspect
Jul 19, Walnut Gardens Speedway, Camby (IN), 50 miles, Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Frontenac) - winner info suspect

1932

Jul 17, Northampton Track, Akron (OH), 100 miles, Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Hal)
Sep 24, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 20 miles, Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Frontenac)
Oct 23, Recreation Park, Kalamazoo (MI), 75 miles?, no info

1933

Aug 6, Evanston Motor Speedway, Evanston (IL), no info
Aug 21, Walnut Gardens Speedway, Camby (IN), Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Frontenac or Wiggins/Hal)
Sep 17, Roby Speedway, Hammond (IN), 100 miles, Charlie Wiggins (Wiggins/Hal?)

1934

Jul 4, Evanston Motor Speedway, Evanston (IL), 7½ miles?, no info

1935

Jun 16, Dayton Speedway, Dayton (OH), no info
Jul 4, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles?, race cancelled?
Aug 18, Greyhound Track, Indianapolis (IN), 50 miles?, no info

1936

Sep 20, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 50 miles, Bill Carson (Carson/Frontenac?)

1937

Sep 19, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis (IN), 100 miles, race cancelled?
Oct 31, Hammond Raceway, Hammond (IN), 62½ miles, Spencer Foreman (Foreman/Frontenac?)

Edited by Michael Ferner, 15 October 2012 - 13:48.


#27 Michael Ferner

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 13:43

A few drivers of note:

Barney Anderson was the leading force of the Detroit contingent. He surprised a lot of people when he showed up all-comers at the 1929 Gold & Glory race with a clearcut victory in record time. Raced 1926 - '37, minimum.

Hugo Barnes was a regular from the Chicago gang, placing 3rd in the 1924 and 2nd in the 1930 G&G Sweepstakes. Raced 1924 - '36, minimum.

Bill Blackman, aptly named Chicago racer, was 5th in the 1929 Sweepstakes. Drove occasionally in IMCA events. Raced 1924 - '37, minimum.

Bill Buckner was one of the leading lights of the Indianapolis movement. More of a behind-the-scenes man, he was 4th at Milwaukee in 1929. Raced 1924 - '34, minimum.

Sam (Floyd?) Buford, leading driver from the West Coast. Ran in WARA events in the Pacific Northwest, too. Raced 1925 - '35, minimum.

Bill Carson was a stand-on-the-gas man from Chicago. Had numerous top three finishes, and crashed out of other races when leading. Raced 1925 - '37, minimum.

Homer Cloud of Cleveland (OH), was twice 3rd in 1933. Raced 1933 - '35, minimum.

Gill Cunningham of Chicago was killed at Roby Speedway on Sep 17, 1933. Had been racing since 1930, at least.

Lawrence Dawson from Indianapolis was 3rd in the 1930 Sweepstakes. Raced 1924 - '32, minimum.

Spencer Foreman was another Detroit ace. Ran in independent events of Ohio and Indiana after his G&G days. Raced 1930 - '39, minimum.

Carl Foster of Northern Indiana didn't drive much in G&G events, but was an old hand in independent races of Ohio and Indiana. Raced 1923 - '28, minimum.

Wilbur Gaines was a hard-riding member of the Chicago gang - wasn't nick-named "Wildman" for nothing! Was 4th in the 1929 Sweepstakes, else mostly noted for a number of accidents. Raced 1925 - '37, minimum, despite injuries.

Eddie Grice was a comer from Indianapolis, took out the (Chicago) leader in the 1926 G&G race, then led himself before crashing in '27. Calmed down to finish 3rd in '28, but crashed again in 1929. Died four days later from injuries.

Malcolm Hannon from Indianapolis won the first G&G race in 1924, and was 3rd in '27. Moved to New York in the thirties. Raced 1924 - '33, minimum.

Bill James, Indianapolis driver. Also raced independent events in Western PA. Apart from winning the 1927 edition of the G&G Sweepstakes, he also drove 3 laps in the 3rd-place car in '29. Raced 1924 - '36, minimum.

Bill Jeffries, "Big Bill" from Chicago was driver, car owner and promoter - a larger-than-life figure. Numerous top three finishes, he raced from 1924 - '34, minumum.

Casey Jones from North Dakota drove mainly independent, 1922 - '31 minimum.

Rodney Morris from Western Ohio, was 2nd in the 1928 Sweepstakes, and ran independent events in Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Raced 1927 - '30, minimum.

Red Oliver from Richmond (IN), was 2nd in '36, continued to race postwar.

Leonard Powell from Chicago was killed at Hammond Raceway, Oct 31, 1937.

Cyclone Ross, Chicago driver, was 3rd in 1937 Sweepstakes, and another one to race postwar.

Long Shot Sargent was a long-time campaigner from Saint Louis (MO), but remained a long shot throughout his career (1924 - '35, minimum).

Billy Schaffer of Chicago won an IMCA main event in 1927. Difficult to track due to spelling variances.

Gene Smith of the Chicago gang had some good results, and always a good sponsor (Boyle, Elgin, Strumil). Raced 1927 - '32, minimum.

Bill Valentine of Anderson (IN) was 2nd at Chicago in 1924. Raced 1924 - '37, with a "recess" of almost a decade in between.

Bobby Wallace, superstar from Indianapolis. Many top three finishes from 1925 - '36, minimum.

Bill Walthall, Chicago ace, was 2nd in his hometown event in 1925. Also ran independent events after G&G career. Raced 1924 - '39, minimum.

Toots Washington from Pittsburgh (PA) also ran independent events in his home state. Raced 1927 - '35, minimum.

Doc White from Iowa, ran independent events in the Midwest. Raced 1924 - '30, minimum.

Charlie Wiggins, Indianapolis star driver, had a team of cars quite early on (1926), and later ran up to three cars at a time. Was 2nd in 1929 sweepstakes, also prominent in independent events of Indiana and Illinois. Lost a leg in 1936 accident, continued as car owner postwar. Raced 1925 - '36, minimum.

Lawrence Wiggins, kid brother of Charlie. Was 2nd twice in '33, raced 1929 - '35, minimum.

Edited by Michael Ferner, 15 October 2012 - 15:11.


#28 GILMORE

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 18:58

Michael, have you ever come across the name Willie Scotty in your research? It's possible he only ran midgets. The only reference I have found of him is a couple articles relating to a 4/26/1936 Silvergate race...

Posted Image

#29 Michael Ferner

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 14:21

There was a Bill Scott from Seattle (1935) and/or Tacoma (1947) racing Big Cars in the Northwest without much success, ca. 1932 - '37, and again in '47. Maybe the same guy?

#30 Jim Thurman

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 23:57

There was a Bill Scott from Seattle (1935) and/or Tacoma (1947) racing Big Cars in the Northwest without much success, ca. 1932 - '37, and again in '47. Maybe the same guy?

Bill Scott was listed in entries for midget races at White Sox Park in Los Angeles. The races were primarily for "black" drivers. He was the father of Benny Scott, who raced Formula Ford and Formula 5000 in the 1970's.

Michael, great work. You have posted information and detail far beyond anything previously unearthed. :up:

#31 sramoa

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:10

1933

Aug 6, Evanston Motor Speedway, Evanston (IL), no info


1934

Jul 4, Evanston Motor Speedway, Evanston (IL), 7½ miles?, no info


My list think:

1933 Aug 6, Evanston Motor Speedway, Evanston (IL),20 miles

1.Bob Salillese of Cleveland
2.Wilbur Gaines
3.Bill Buckner
4.Hugo Barnes
5.William Walthall

1934 Jul 4, Evanston Motor Speedway, Evanston (IL), 7½ miles

Winner:Wilbur Gaines of Chicago "Colored Speed Kings"

Edited by sramoa, 18 October 2012 - 16:22.


#32 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 15:39

Thanks for those, Richard! :up:

1.Bob Salillese of Cleveland


Here's a guy I left out of the list of prominent drivers, mainly because I don't have a clue about how to spell the name!! The Cleveland bit identifies him, though, although I've seen him listed under the Chicago drivers, too. Virtually every different spelling between "Robert La Sallica" and "Bob Salise" was used over time... take your pick! :rolleyes:

#33 sramoa

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 18:35

I find more two events:

In 1928 August 4 or 5 Milwaukee,West Allis track-I have only entry list
1932 August 21 Brooke Park in Cleveland,OH-I have only entry list...

#34 m.tanney

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 23:41

I can add a bit more.

Although it was billed as a Detroit race in this article, the 1925 Detroit Speedway Association event described here was held at the Devonshire Race Track in Windsor, Ontario, south of Detroit. The first article also mentions races at Louisville, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois. I think we can safely assume that "Duckner", the winner of the Windsor race, was Bill Buckner and that "Malcolm Hannef" was Malcolm Hannon.

The Devonshire Race Track was a horse racing facility. That explains the rather odd track length of 1 1/8 mile. That's a mile and a furlong to the horsey set. There are some pictures of the Devonshire track at these links: 1, 2.

With regard to the 1927 Windsor event, Brian Pratt posted a clipping about it on a Canadian forum last year. It is from the Baltimore Afro American of June 11, 1927. Here is a link to the Google News Archive version.

My first link mentions a 1925 race in Kentucky. According to this link, there was also a 1928 race in Louisville. It did not go so well. I think this shows us the kind of pressure that a car owner would have faced if he had entered black driver in a big event like the Indianapolis 500 - especially bearing in mind that Indiana was a hotbed of Klan activity in the 1920s.

BTW, Dave Boon, who writes for the Canadian periodical Old Autos, has clippings of Spencer Foreman (post #27) racing at Windsor Speedway as late as 1950.


#35 RonPohl

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 00:27

I forgot to mention Willie T. Ribbs who had a good run at the 500 in the '90s. He was backed almost exclusively by Bill Cosby who has a done a lot
to help young people in this country. He takes a very low profile on his
donations, but I for a fact that he has given huge sums to several Black
Universities.

I was fortunate to see Willy in a formula Atlantic at long beach back in the day. He was driving the wheels off an old March. In a field deep in talent, his car control (meaning delightful slides) stood out. He was running 4th much of the race, but I am not sure he finished.

#36 Michael Ferner

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 14:24

I find more two events:

In 1928 August 4 or 5 Milwaukee,West Allis track-I have only entry list
1932 August 21 Brooke Park in Cleveland,OH-I have only entry list...


Well, I found results for the Cleveland race (20 miles, won by "Bob Salliea, Cleveland" - again, that guy of a million names! - in a Miller-Schofield), but the Milwaukee race puzzles me: there was a "regular" race on August 5, won by Frank Brisko, and it was a "still date" (the fair races were four weeks later, won by Brisko and Ernie Triplett). I have good info on all of those races, but no mention of a "colored" race!! :confused:

#37 sramoa

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 16:18

Posted Image

Here is my tag for this Milwaukee evnt in 1928.My list think:this event was in Aug 4.I didn't find what was the result...

Edited by sramoa, 19 October 2012 - 16:25.


#38 Michael Ferner

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 20:37

Ah, you've been one year out! :D

The text says "Sunday afternoon", and August 4 was a Saturday in 1928. The August 4, 1929 race is on my original list, post #26. :)

#39 GILMORE

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 21:54

Gill Cunningham of Chicago was killed at Roby Speedway on Sep 17, 1933. Had been racing since 1930, at least.


Did you know his full name is Gilmore Cunningham. :love: ... LOL

Found a couple other mentions of "colored" races for you...

A "Negro Men's Automobile Racing Association" (of Savanna, GA) race held on Nov. 24, 1921... http://www.fultonhis...1...2ehtml&.pdf

A June or July, 1928 race at Titusville Fair Grounds (Sorry, I do not have an account with Ancestry)... http://search.ancest...l...22&uidh=000

Edited by GILMORE, 20 October 2012 - 01:04.


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#40 sramoa

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 23:07

Ah, you've been one year out! :D

The text says "Sunday afternoon", and August 4 was a Saturday in 1928. The August 4, 1929 race is on my original list, post #26. :)


http://news.google.c.....=4720,4726402

Yes you have a truth :blush:

#41 SteveE

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:17

The obit for Gil Cunningham in the Chicago Defender, Saturday September 23, 1933, page 7, column 5, "Deaths Of The Week" lists the name, E.G.Cunningham.

#42 E1pix

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:37

As far as I know, in the USA use of the term "Coloured" is not yet considered offensive, merely old-fashioned...

There is a very narrow gap between being politically correct and being patronising. Personally I cringe when anybody uses terms like "Darkie", "Dusky", "Person of Colour", or the like. The usage may have been well meant but today it generally sounds so patronising.

Interesting how terms vary across the waters of both time and planet.

Actually, "colored" is considered offensive in the States. "Black" overall is the least offensive to most. Our longtime mountaineering partner was the first Black to climb all 55 of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains. In his own words, he describes the feat as his being the "first person of color" to do this.

Great thread, my esteem is always at its highest for anyone surviving bigger odds to accomplish their dreams. My wife gets my peak of admiration, for another topic and another day.

#43 RA Historian

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 14:44

There is likely no subject in the US that is more ruled by the dreaded political correctness than race. The media is absolutely scared to death to say or write anything that in any way could be construed as "offensive". Hence, the almost universal use of the phrase "African-American" to describe anyone who is black. To me that is so silly on a number of levels. For example, when Jody Scheckter lived in Atlanta for 20 some years, could he not have been described as an "African-American"? After all, he was from Africa, and he was a resident of America. But I digress.

My point is in regards to the 2007 USGP at Indianapolis. As we know, Lewis Hamilton won. The next day an Indianapolis newspaper proclaimed Lewis to be the first "African-American" to win the USGP. The fact that Hamilton is neither African nor American apparently matters little. The important thing is to be PC and in that warped world apparently the only acceptable phrase must be "African-American".

Getting off my soapbox now...

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 15:27

Perhaps the latest post on the 'Ultimate Price' thread could be read in conjunction with this thread?

http://forums.autosp...a...t&p=6111103

#45 flatlander48

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 19:29

There is likely no subject in the US that is more ruled by the dreaded political correctness than race.


Silly. Tell me, if your name was George and you told everyone that your name was George, would it be acceptable if everyone called you Harry? Maybe we should tell your parents that they didn't name you correctly, because in effect, that's what you are saying. However, at the heart of this is the point who are you to decide what others choose to call themselves?

The important thing is to be PC and in that warped world apparently the only acceptable phrase must be "African-American".



Also silly. Black is just as acceptable and don't use quotes. Also, note that writing for a living and the appearance of literacy does not necessarily correlate with intelligence.

#46 flatlander48

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 19:33

In his own words, he describes the feat as his being the "first person of color" to do this.



All that means is that he is the first non-white person. Using the term Person of Color is intended to describe a broad range of backgrounds, including Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Eskimos, etc. I assume he was just being inclusive.

Edited by flatlander48, 01 February 2013 - 19:35.


#47 Bob Riebe

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 20:00

There is likely no subject in the US that is more ruled by the dreaded political correctness than race. The media is absolutely scared to death to say or write anything that in any way could be construed as "offensive". Hence, the almost universal use of the phrase "African-American" to describe anyone who is black. To me that is so silly on a number of levels. For example, when Jody Scheckter lived in Atlanta for 20 some years, could he not have been described as an "African-American"? After all, he was from Africa, and he was a resident of America. But I digress.

My point is in regards to the 2007 USGP at Indianapolis. As we know, Lewis Hamilton won. The next day an Indianapolis newspaper proclaimed Lewis to be the first "African-American" to win the USGP. The fact that Hamilton is neither African nor American apparently matters little. The important thing is to be PC and in that warped world apparently the only acceptable phrase must be "African-American".

Getting off my soapbox now...

You are correct.
I have mixed blood nephews and nieces.
The father DID NOT appreciate the term african-american.

We were walking once and he said-"See them, those blue-blacks? Those are Africans, I ain't like them."


#48 E1pix

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 20:13

Hi RA, IMHO this issue was born in slavery and racism, and it's simply respectful to refer to people however they wish.

I'm not even sure there's such a thing as political correctness, at least not in cases where politics have nothing to do with the topic at hand. To me it's simply a media term.

All that means is that he is the first non-white person. Using the term Person of Color is intended to describe a broad range of backgrounds, including Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Eskimos, etc. I assume he was just being inclusive.

Exactly.

#49 john aston

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:26

There is likely no subject in the US that is more ruled by the dreaded political correctness than race. The media is absolutely scared to death to say or write anything that in any way could be construed as "offensive". Hence, the almost universal use of the phrase "African-American" to describe anyone who is black. To me that is so silly on a number of levels. For example, when Jody Scheckter lived in Atlanta for 20 some years, could he not have been described as an "African-American"? After all, he was from Africa, and he was a resident of America. But I digress.

My point is in regards to the 2007 USGP at Indianapolis. As we know, Lewis Hamilton won. The next day an Indianapolis newspaper proclaimed Lewis to be the first "African-American" to win the USGP. The fact that Hamilton is neither African nor American apparently matters little. The important thing is to be PC and in that warped world apparently the only acceptable phrase must be "African-American".

Getting off my soapbox now...



My word . I can't think why race would be so sensitive an issue in the USA... . It might be PC to some- but to others it's just reflective of the struggle to get it right after a less than illustrious past in this area.

#50 Magoo

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 16:55

There is likely no subject in the US that is more ruled by the dreaded political correctness than race. The media is absolutely scared to death to say or write anything that in any way could be construed as "offensive". Hence, the almost universal use of the phrase "African-American" to describe anyone who is black. To me that is so silly on a number of levels. For example, when Jody Scheckter lived in Atlanta for 20 some years, could he not have been described as an "African-American"? After all, he was from Africa, and he was a resident of America. But I digress.

My point is in regards to the 2007 USGP at Indianapolis. As we know, Lewis Hamilton won. The next day an Indianapolis newspaper proclaimed Lewis to be the first "African-American" to win the USGP. The fact that Hamilton is neither African nor American apparently matters little. The important thing is to be PC and in that warped world apparently the only acceptable phrase must be "African-American".

Getting off my soapbox now...


When people rail about this perceived problem, I always wonder why it bothers them so much. It's like they're trying to defend or hold onto something. What?

Personally, I have always tended toward the view that whenever possible and reasonable, people could be addressed simply as they would like to be addressed. What, is that difficult? It's not a matter of political correctness, simply of good old-fashioned manners.

I am reminded of the Ali vs. Terrell fight. When Cassius Clay made it known that he was no longer Clay and wished to be known as Ali, for some reason his decision was met with great offense, as if he were committing some kind of crime. (Those were the times, what can you say.) One opponent, Ernie Terrell, refused to honor Ali's his wish and taunted him with the name Clay. Now, Ali could have easily knocked out Terrell early, but he didn't. Instead, he carried Terrell around the ring for the full 15 rounds, holding him up with one glove and pounding him in the face with the other, repeating with every blow, "What's my name? What's my name?" It was what we would call today a teachable moment.