The true story of Charles “Charlie” Wiggins, one of the greatest African American race car drivers of the 1920s and 1930s, is being developed into a feature film by Ed Welburn, former vice president of global design at General Motors Co. in Detroit, and writer, actor, and director Madisun Leigh under their Welburn Media Productions banner.
The film, titled “Eraced,” has attracted IndyCar and Firestone as brand partners. IndyCar has pledged support, physical production, marketing, and promotional opportunities during production, and additional marketing resources, including media, at the time of release. Firestone will be a production partner for the film.
Wiggins faced the inequities of segregation in Jim Crow Indiana, more than once was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, and was consistently barred from white-only racing events. Between 1926 and 1935, he won the Colored Speedway Association’s annual Gold and Glory Sweepstakes four times.
B. Garida, Courtney Gay Wilson, and Leigh adapted the feature screenplay from the Emmy Award-winning documentary and book, “For Gold and Glory: Charlie Wiggins and the African American Racing Car Circuit,” both written and produced by Todd Gould.
Welburn, who retired in 2016 after 44 years at GM, was the highest ranking African American in the automobile industry.
“Watching the documentary about Charlie, I was excited and at the same time deeply saddened that such an amazing piece of African American history, of American history, of car history, could be completely unknown to me, my enthusiast friends, and most auto racing experts,” says Welburn. “I decided that I had to bring Charlie’s story to life.”
Producing the film are Grant Cramer, Leigh, and Welburn. World Wide Technologies founder and chairman David Steward and Polarity CEO David Steward II have partnered as financiers and will serve as executive producers alongside Marsha Malone and Randy Greenberg, who sourced, negotiated, and will manage the brand partnerships.
“It’s yet another missing piece of the puzzle that is the contribution of African American ingenuity and genius to our country’s rich history,” says Leigh. “Charlie was a humble yet daring man who, despite the stifling impediment of Jim Crow laws and unimaginable personal tragedy, rose again and again to meet those challenges and obstacles.”