Photos By Bob Plumer ~ Text by Danny White
We lost a great drag racer last week as Malcolm Durham passed away after a extended illness. Durham was honored last weekend at the National Hot Rod Reunion event at Beech Bend, Kentucky, an honor that one of his sons tearfully accepted. Malcolm is remebered best as the first Afro-American superstar in drag racing.
For match race promotions, he was dubbed the "D.C. Lip," to capitalize on Muhammad Ali's confrontational style. However, that title could not be further from the truth as Malcolm Durham conducted himself at all times as a quiet, hard working gentleman. Durham's drag racing career hit its high point from 1963 to 1972. He raced in Super Stock and followed the progression of the class as it migrated to funny cars and then on to Pro Stock.
Malcolm retired from the driver's seat to put his sons through college. He then returned to racing in 1985, suffering a setback when he crashed a new Pro Stock Camaro. Durham built a modern replica of his 65 Chevelle A/FX and thrilled the fans in that car until he retired again. Malcolm also helped his sons race as they carried on the "Strip Blazer" name with pride. Farewell, Malcolm.
Danny White/Bob Plumer