Retired Jack Johnson lost an auto race to racer Barney Oldfield 102 years ago this October 24. Though the finish was not controversial, the race itself sure was with the American Automobile Association denying a license to Johnson and also threatening to suspend Oldfield’s license if he followed through with his plan to race the African-American in three heats. Without the AAA’s approval, the event could not be an official race.
The two men went ahead with the race on a dirt track in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, despite the protests of the AAA with Oldfield easily winning two heats to win the $5,000 wager. Oldfield’s license was indeed suspended for two years for his audacity to race a black man.