Black American Racers jacket worn by Leonard W. Miller, 1976-1977

Description (Brief):

Black American Racers jacket worn by Leonard W. Miller in the 1976-1977 racing season. This was worn while Tommy Thompson was the driver in the Formula Super Vee class for the Black American Racers team.

Description (Brief)

In 1969, Len Miller and his brother Dexter for Miller Racing to race hot rods on the drag racing circuit in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Northeast. With success on the racetrack he formed Vanguard Racing in 1972 and was the first African American to enter a car in the Indianapolis 500. He then went on to found the Black American Racers Association in 1973. The goal of the organization was to “unify African-American drivers in all types of racing – stock car, open wheel, and drag racing -- pave the way for greater success and introduce race fans to African-American’s history in motorsports.”

Description (Brief)

Later that same year the Black American Racers, Inc. (BAR) was formed with Benny Scott as their second generation African-American driver. Also in 1973, BAR became the first team to have an African American driver compete in England. In 1975, BAR driver Benny Scott would break the color barrier at the Long Beach Grand Prix, when the team entered a Formula 5000 car in the inaugural race. Len and Benny Scott were inducted into the Black Athletes Hall of Fame for their achievements in motorsports in 1976. In 1978, BAR experienced a setback when their driver Tommy Thompson was killed in an accident at the Trenton Speedway. Many of the team members took a break after this tragedy and in the 1980s the team turned toward stock car racing.

User: Miller, Leonard W.

Location: Currently not on view

Name Of Sport: auto racingLevel Of Sport: ProfessionalWeb Subject: African American


See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Sport and Leisure, Sports & Leisure


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Leonard W. Miller

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2016.0359.17Accession Number: 2016.0359Catalog Number: 2016.0359.17

Object Name: auto racing jacket

Physical Description: fabric, denim (overall material)metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 27 1/2 in x 22 in; 69.85 cm x 55.88 cm


Record Id: nmah_1824824

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.