06 Aug 2003 Washington Times on Jesse Jackson
Greg Pierce of the Washington Times was kind enough to mention Project 21’s recent exhortation to Jesse Jackson in his July 4 column:
The black leadership network Project 21 is pressuring the Rev. Jesse Jackson to support a promising black race-car driver who lacks the financial sponsorship needed to advance in the sport.
Mr. Jackson has complained publicly that black drivers have been excluded from NASCAR. In 1999, according to the National Legal and Policy Center, Mr. Jackson told a conference attended by NASCAR’s chief executive officer, “The fact of the matter is there is frustration because of exclusion. We were qualified to play baseball before 1947. We are qualified to race cars now.”
Since then, Mr. Jackson’s organizations have received a reported $250,000 from NASCAR.
On June 24, a board member of Mr. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition renewed the attack on NASCAR, publicly charging that auto racing remains “the last bastion of white supremacy” in professional sports.
Project 21, in a prepared statement released yesterday, urged Mr. Jackson to take the money given to his operations by NASCAR and use it to directly support an up-and-coming black driver.
“As a devoted fan of NASCAR, I am troubled by Jesse Jackson’s latest exploits,” says Project 21 member Reginald Jones. “I never once have paused to consider the racial makeup of the drivers or other fans. Like white fans of the NBA, racial proportions are irrelevant to me.
“NASCAR is a juicy target because of its Southern heritage and vast financial resources. Fans should be outraged by NASCAR’s cowardice in the face of Jackson’s latest hustle. People like me who have supported the sport do not appreciate our money going to him.”