WHO IS MAJOR TAYLOR?
American bicycle racer Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (1878-1932), the “Black Cyclone” was the world’s first black sports superstar. He was world cycling champion in 1899, American sprint champion in 1900, and set numerous track cycling records. Nicknamed “Major” in his youth in Indianapolis and later known as “the Worcester Whirlwind” after his adopted hometown in Massachusetts, he was the second African-American world champion in any sport (after Canadian-born bantamweight boxer George Dixon of Boston won his title in 1891). In the Jim Crow era of strict racial segregation, Taylor had to fight prejudice just to get on the starting line. He faced closed doors and open hostility with remarkable dignity. In his retirement he wrote his autobiography, “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World.”