February 11, 2010
… Silent Thunder [Red Sea Press, 2005] told the story of Miller Sr., a longtime amateur and professional racer and a member of the Black Athletes Hall of Fame, who entered a black racing team in the 1972 Indianapolis 500, and details the obstacles he faced trying to enter the traditionally southern white world of motorsports racing in the 1960s and 1970s. The new book, Racing While Black, is about his son Leonard T. Miller’s life as a second-generation African American race car team executive and the problems he faced running Miller Racing, a family-owned black motorsports team in the modern era.
Seven Stories publisher Dan Simon said the house was releasing a first printing of 5,000 copies, but said “we hope to go much further than that.” Simon described the book as critical of NASCAR and said it examines the problems Miller faced building a stock car racing team with his father; his struggles securing corporate sponsorships despite his team’s successes and the inevitable problems dealing with bigoted fellow-drivers and fans in a traditionally all white sport.
… Simon said that the book even has “a surprise ending,” and said the book will provide a much-needed look at one of the few major American sports that seems closed to African Americans. “The Millers did a great deal for blacks in racing sports,” said Simon, “during years in which NASCAR itself wouldn’t let black drivers in and even sympathetic black executives at General Motors and other car companies who wanted to support the Miller team would have to do so clandestinely. After a few years the persistence of the Millers posed enough of a threat that you started to see black drivers integrating other teams.”