In the early 1900s, Black people were banned from participating in racing events, so one organization decided to smash through barriers that not even a full speed race car could go through.
Data shows that from 2010-2021, less than four percent of automotive engineers were Black. During Leonard Miller’s early life, it was even more rare to find Black engineers, so he decided to create those opportunities.
Imagine going from four people in an industry to running an empire of thousands!
In 1973, Miller helped form the Black American Racers Association (BAR or BARA). “We trained and taught and had seminars and brought [members] to the track, so they could drive cars and be engineers. We went around and made our own system.” The organization grew to over 5,000 members, with many equipped with trade skills that lasted a lifetime.
BARA also provided financial support for Black racers, organized events for our people, and overall created a sense of community and camaraderie. The now disbanded organization will be forever cemented in Black history.
Leonard Miller and the BARA created their own system while also equipping thousands of Black people with professional opportunities, and they did it in a place where we were banned. If they can do it there, then imagine what we can create with the access we have now. The race toward liberation is ours to win.