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The courage and determination that fuelled Wendell Scott, NASCAR’s first black driver

‘If I leave in a pine box, that’s what I gotta do. But I’m gonna race.’

The US race-car driver Wendell Scott (1921-1990) was the first African American to compete in NASCAR and to win a race at NASCAR’s highest level. Like the baseball player Jackie Robinson and other athletes who broke the colour barrier in US sports, Scott is now celebrated for his bravery in the face of adversity, but that was not his day-to-day experience in the predominantly Southern, conservative world of American stock-car racing during the Jim Crow era. Although segregation laws are no longer directly responsible, NASCAR’s fanbase and driver pool are still overwhelmingly white. In Driven, Scott’s son Frank and grandson Warrick recall Scott’s stoic pursuit of his passion in the face of discrimination, a constant lack of recognition and even death threats.

Producer: Rachel Hartman

Director: Julie Zammarchi

Animators: Thomas Crew, Rebecca Raeder

Website: StoryCorps

9 June 2017

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