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. 




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