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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Who Really Broke the Color Barrier in Motorsports?

Posted February 26, 2020 9:00 AM by dstrohl

With the release of the Adam Carolla-directed documentary Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story, which covers the life and career of a motorsports pioneer, the first black man to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in 1991, many of the promotional materials for the film describe Ribbs as “the Jackie Robinson of auto racing” who “shattered the color barrier in professional racing.” Not to take anything away from Ribbs, but plenty of other racers might have a better claim on those latter two titles.

To begin with, a hard-and-fast color barrier did exist in some professional motorsports (and a softer color barrier in other motorsports) during the 20th century. What makes Ribbs’ entry in the Indy 500 a landmark event is that it came after 80 years of the Indy 500, an establishment in American motorsports, and after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway spent decades segregating its spectators and excluding black racers.

Looking back at a historical first (or two) in honor of Black History Month.

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#1

Re: Who Really Broke the Color Barrier in Motorsports?

02/26/2020 11:32 PM

Kodak.

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Re: Who Really Broke the Color Barrier in Motorsports?

03/02/2020 10:38 AM

It’s unfortunate that the media needs to do anything like first _____ man/women to ______.

it’s almost to a point with the exception of pointing out racism or misogyny/misandry, but instead keeps it alive.

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