Happy Birthday Major Taylor

0 Posted by - November 26, 2016 - BLACK MEN, DID YOU KNOW, Holidays And Birthdays, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today, Missing From Textbooks, Racism, SPORTS

Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor was an American cyclist who won the world 1 mile track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. Taylor was the 1st African-American athlete to achieve the level of world champion and only the 2nd black man to win a world championship—after Canadian boxer George Dixon.

Taylor turned professional in 1896 at the age of 18 and soon emerged as the “most formidable racer in America.” One of his biggest supporters was President Theodore Roosevelt who kept track of Taylor throughout his 17-year racing career.

RACISM IN THE FIELD: Although he was greatly celebrated abroad, particularly in France, Taylor’s career was still held back by racism, particularly in the Southern states where he was not permitted to compete against Caucasians. The League of American Wheelmen for a time excluded blacks from membership. Other prominent bicycle racers of the era, such as Tom Cooper and Eddie Bald, often cooperated to ensure Taylor’s defeat.

During his career he had ice water thrown at him during races, and nails scattered in front of his wheels, and was often boxed in by other riders, preventing the sprints to the front of the pack at which he was so successful.

Although he was greatly celebrated abroad, particularly in France, Taylor’s career was still held back by racism, particularly in the Southern states where he was not permitted to compete against Caucasians. The League of American Wheelmen for a time excluded blacks from membership. Other prominent bicycle racers of the era, such as Tom Cooper and Eddie Bald, often cooperated to ensure Taylor’s defeat. 

Read more about his legacy at: Daily Black History Facts

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