Hatfield: Evansville to honor early African-American race car driver, local hero Charlie Wiggins
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville), the Indiana Racing Memorial Association, and the Evansville African-American Museum have announced that a race-themed historic marker honoring legendary mechanic and race car driver Charlie Wiggins will be placed at the museum on Saturday (June 23).
The Wiggins marker will be unveiled during a ceremony starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in front of the African-American Museum, located at 579 South Garvin Street (corner of Garvin Street and Lincoln Avenue). The public is invited to attend.
“Charlie Wiggins was the star of the African-American racing circuit in the 1920s and 1930s, capturing four ‘Gold and Glory’ races,” said Hatfield. “Wiggins was one of the foremost African-American drivers in an era when racing was still new, safety was minimal, and it took someone without fear to compete.”
Ashley Jordan, Director of the Evansville African-American Museum, added, “Evansville is proud to honor one of our ‘Favorite Sons’ who brought fame to our city and state and to the world of early American auto racing. His dedication to a dangerous sport made him the most successful driver in the history of the ‘Gold and Glory’ race.”
Wiggins is the latest subject to be honored by the Indiana Racing Memorial Association (IRMA), an organization founded by Brian Hasler and Mark Eutsler to memorialize the contributions made by drivers, mechanics, manufacturers, short tracks, and events that made Indiana the “Racing Capital of the World.”
“With the addition of Charlie Wiggins, IRMA will have placed 36 markers across the State of Indiana,” Hasler said. “Our markers and the unveiling events that take place with them have helped educate the public about these contributions to building the sport of auto racing in Indiana, the country, and around the world.”
Hatfield noted, “As a life-long race fan, I am pleased that Charlie Wiggins will receive the recognition he is due with the addition of this historic marker in Evansville.”
“This marker will be a constant reminder of an Evansville resident whose determination and talent made a significant contribution to the sport he loved,” added Jordan.