Reader Seeks Information on African-American Race Track from 1940's

Sunday, July 13, 2014 - by Harmon Jolley

A reader is searching for information on a segregated car racing track in Alton Park in the 1940's.  He came across an article in my previous series on River City racing (http://www.chattanoogan.com/2010/4/18/173711/River-City-Racing---Warner-Park-and.aspx).   The following is the reader's e-mail:

"I saw the story linked below in which you wrote about, among other things, an old car racing track on the site of Warner Park before the Fieldhouse was built there.  My brother told me today that my father (age 78) was telling him recently about a race track in the Alton Park area that my father (and his father) when to in the 1940s which featured African-America race car drivers (only).  My father, although not African-American, wondered if anyone else remembered such a track and racers."

"After reading about the Warner Park track, which I assumed was generally segregated, I thought maybe they had certain days that the track was available to African-American drivers, too, which may have meant dad was just remembering the Warner Park track.  But maybe there was another African-American-only track that there's little record of (although some other old people may still remember it).  As you know, there was a small segregated golf course in the Orchard Knob area, so the thought of a segregated race track didn't seem that unusual to me (or to my dad's memory).  So, any info you have on such a track would be interesting to my dad."

My theory is that the race track is the same Chattanooga Speedway mentioned in my article.  That race track was located in the lowlands along Chattanooga Creek in Alton Park.   Possibly there were certain days designated as African-American racers and spectators only.

If you have information which can help our reader, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@bellsouth.net and I'll pass it along as an update to this article. 




Memorial Day Activities Announced by Chattanooga National Cemetery

Saturday, May 23rd –   8:00 a.m. Scouts Honor Veterans Ceremony   (All gravesites decorated with an American Flag) Saturday, May 23rd – 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Located behind Shelter “B” will be an Historical Timeline presented by The History Company Saturday, May 23rd – Approximately 9:00 AM to 10:00AM   2nd Annual TN Valley Veterans Benefit Ride will ... (click for more)

Civil War Historical Marker Ceremony To Be Held In June In Cleveland

The latest Civil War-related historical roadside marker will be dedicated during a special ceremony next month in Cleveland. The marker commemorates the difficult time during the Civil War when much of Bradley County lay between Union and Confederate lines. During this period, homes and businesses were vandalized and robbed by both pro-Union and pro-Confederate forces who took advantage ... (click for more)

Man Killed By Train At Sale Creek

A man was struck and killed by a train in North Hamilton County on Wednesday evening. The sheriff's office said the incident occurred in Sale Creek.   (click for more)

Tram Up 1st Street That Proved A Dud Also Falters At Auction

Most of the 21st Century Waterfront development was a major success. Except for that non-working tram going up the steep hill at First Street. The city has finally given up on the unusual mode of transit and has placed it up for auction. But there were only four bids submitted and the high was only $92.50. The owners of the firm that built the tram, Outdoor Engineers ... (click for more)

The Truth About The Rising Costs To East Ridge On The Fire Hall Property

Re:East Ridge Has To Pay Unexpected $428,000 On Bass Pro Shop Deal   H ere is the truth about this article.    One section of the article says: " Unknown to anybody on the council today, the agreement limited use of the land to a fire hall."     In a letter dated Dec. 15, 2010, Mayor Lambert asked TDOT officials to ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I Know About Dowries

There is a lawyer in Kenya who wants to meet President Barack Obama very badly. He knows the President will visit Kenya in July and the noble, young lawyer, Felix Kiprono, is very sincere when he says he wants to marry the oldest of the Obama daughters, 16-year-old Malia. He became interested in Malia in 2008 and can proudly say he has dated no other women since then, it has just ... (click for more)