I’ve never heard of Wendell Scott before. Perhaps it’s because I’m not a NASCAR fan. Nothing against it – just growing up in New Mexico – I don’t recall hearing much about the sport.
I sat down to watch the story on Wendell this past Sunday on ESPN. When did I not have a lump in my throat? This is a man who raced with the “big boys” during the climax of the Civil Rights riots. Often times he was allowed to race because A) The track owners wouldn’t tell the fans a black man was driving the 34 car or B) Because the owners wanted to use him as a gimmick to attract the masses.
Wendell Scott was mistreated beyond measure. In Florida, they wouldn’t even give him his trophy after he won. Actually they didn’t officially declare him the winner because they didn’t want him to kiss the beauty queen who happened to be white. At another race, they wouldn’t give Scott his tow money. He and one of his son’s ran out of gas on the way home.
I admire Mr. Scott because he wouldn’t let anyone steal his dream or deter him from it. He ALWAYS acted with class despite the spit cast in his face. But why do I really admire Mr. Scott? It’s simple, he was a strong man, a strong father, who on his meager earnings put four kids through college. (A tremendous accomplishment for a black man during that era.) Scott was there for his children — an example for them against all odds. He never allowed them to use the words “CAN’T” or “NEVER”. Talk about resolve!
During black history month especially we always hear about the Martin’s and the Malcom’s – the Rosa’s and the Mary Bethune’s. This is man – who outside of Southside/Southwest Virginia and the racing world – very few know little about. His contribution to black history however is magnanimous. He’s contribution to the racing world is legendary (This is a man who WAS his own Pitt Crew). But most of all Wendell Scott’s contribution to America is to be commended.