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Classroom - Newspaper Accounts of the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes

 
   
 

Frank A. Young was the sports editor for the Chicago Defender, one of the nation's leading black newspapers. He began his career as a sportswriter in Kansas City covering the Kansas City Monarchs Negro National League baseball team and their celebrated pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige. His work with the Negro Leagues helped Young establish his own national column in the black press.

During the 1920s and '30s, he was one of the most popular black sportswriters in America. During the inaugural year of the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes in 1924, the promoters of the Colored Speedway Association contacted Young and invited him to travel to Indianapolis and report on "the single largest sporting event ever to be held for African-American athletes." Young could not pass up the offer. Throughout the twelve-year run of the Gold and Glory Sweepstakes, Frank Young penned some memorable quotes about the race and the racecar drivers. Young's reports even inspired promoters to christen the event The Gold and Glory Sweepstakes.

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"This auto race will be recognized throughout the length and breadth of the land as the single greatest sports event to be staged annually by colored people. Soon, chocolate jockeys will mount their gas-snorting, rubber-shod Speedway monsters as they race at death defying speeds. The largest purses will be posted here, and the greatest array of driving talent will be in attendance in hopes of winning gold for themselves and glory for their Race." - Frank Young, Chicago Defender, July 5, 1924

"This Gold and Glory event is the dawn of a new opportunity, another step forward, the brushing away of another barrier, another obstacle met and surmounted by our group in the realm of sports." - Frank Young, Chicago Defender, August 2, 1924

"Just now everybody is buzzing about the big automobile derby in Indianapolis-the biggest sports event of the season…Now word comes from Indianapolis that twenty-six or more drivers will enter the elimination trials and on Saturday afternoon, fifteen will face the starter in the first big annual derby. It is certainly to be some race, and we are hoping that it is a whale of a success, because it opens a new field of sport for our fans, and it opens a new field for our drivers." - Frank Young, Chicago Defender August 2, 1924

[Report on the Dreamland Derby, a "coloreds-only" race at the Hawthorne Speedway in Chicago in 1924] "There are thousands of people who have never seen an automobile race like this before. All are glad of the opportunity to witness the running of this grand colored racing spectacle…Chicago is looking forward to this event, which marks a new era in the local sports world, a triumph for men of Color." - Frank Young, Chicago Defender, August 16, 1924

"'Wee' Charlie Wiggins, that plucky young mechanic from Indiana, had to build a special seat in his chassis to boost his tiny body, so that he could reach the gears of his homemade creation. But at the end of this grand Gold and Glory event, it was not the mechanics that mattered, but the mechanic himself. As Wiggins crossed the finish line well ahead of the pack, a wild burst of applause greeted him from his home-towners, some of whom lost their heads and ran across the track, despite the yells from cooler heads, warning them that other drivers were still pushing their metal steeds at top speed for second place honors. In the end, no one was hurt, and Wiggins welcomed the stirring ovation." - Frank Young, Chicago Defender, July 1926Photograph of Gold and Glory Sweepstakes

"Primed and groomed to the last notch, stroked and rubbed endearingly, no less than is any thoroughbred on the eve of a supreme test, 26 babies of the greatest engineering brains in America repose ready to be wheeled out on the Fairgrounds speedway to prove by their showing that they can deliver the stuff that demands a place at the finish line…All America must have turned its eyes and ears toward Indianapolis for the event, trying as it were to catch a fleeting glimpse of the drivers or to faintly hear the fascinating hum of racing motors. And this being no stretch of the writer's fertile imagination, for many states are represented among the gaily-painted chariots of steel and the assemblage of nervy, nervous, castor-fumed drivers on hand to flirt with death and danger in their quest for national fame and timely fortune." Frank A. Young, Chicago Defender, June 29, 1929

"Of what will younger generations speak when they talk of the accomplishments of these great colored racers? Will it be that with heart and heavy-foot, they might become the fastest in the land? Or will it be that they did something far greater? For these men of grease and grit are a celebration of all that is grand for our Race. Let us hope that our children speak of the latter, for it is in this moment that we have achieved true greatness." - Frank Young, Chicago Defender, August 2, 1924

     

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