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Charles E. Wiggins

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Charles E. Wiggins Famous memorial

Birth
Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Death
11 Mar 1979 (aged 81)
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA
Burial
Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA GPS-Latitude: 39.8144508, Longitude: -86.1688812
Plot
Section 100, Lot 244
Memorial ID
View Source
Pioneer African American race driver. Wiggins was an outstanding mechanic and race car driver/owner whose skills were worthy of his entry in the Indianapolis 500 Classic and other "big time" events, but he lived at a time when racial barriers prevented him from doing so. Disguised as a janitor, he was able to work behind the scenes as a mechanic and helped Bill Cummings win the 1934 Indianapolis 500. Having been turned away by auto racing's bureaucracy, Wiggins helped create a national racing league for African Americans. The most widely celebrated race for black drivers was the "Gold and Glory Sweepstakes," an annual sporting event so grand it attracted the attention of national news agencies, as well as thousands of spectators coast to coast. "Charlie" was a four-time champion on the circuit, a distinction that earned him the title "the Negro Speed King." He is the subject of "For Gold and Glory," a PBS television special and companion book of the same name, and has been the subject of a display at the Indiana State Museum.
Pioneer African American race driver. Wiggins was an outstanding mechanic and race car driver/owner whose skills were worthy of his entry in the Indianapolis 500 Classic and other "big time" events, but he lived at a time when racial barriers prevented him from doing so. Disguised as a janitor, he was able to work behind the scenes as a mechanic and helped Bill Cummings win the 1934 Indianapolis 500. Having been turned away by auto racing's bureaucracy, Wiggins helped create a national racing league for African Americans. The most widely celebrated race for black drivers was the "Gold and Glory Sweepstakes," an annual sporting event so grand it attracted the attention of national news agencies, as well as thousands of spectators coast to coast. "Charlie" was a four-time champion on the circuit, a distinction that earned him the title "the Negro Speed King." He is the subject of "For Gold and Glory," a PBS television special and companion book of the same name, and has been the subject of a display at the Indiana State Museum.

Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Warrick L. Barrett
  • Added: Jul 8, 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/7666488/charles_e-wiggins: accessed ), memorial page for Charles E. Wiggins (15 Jul 1897–11 Mar 1979), Find a Grave Memorial ID 7666488, citing Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.