To celebrate Black History Month, we will be sharing stories of historic black cyclists all throughout February. To kick things off, we are sharing the story of Marshall "Major" Taylor.
Marshall "Major" Taylor (1878-1932) was the word’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, he was the second African-American world champion in any sport. In the Jim Crow era of strict racial segregation, Taylor had to fight prejudice just to get on the starting line. Some of Taylor's fellow racers refused to compete with him, while others resorted to intimidation, verbal insults, and threats to physically harm him.
To hear more of his story, check out this video from ESPN chronicling his first professional race: