Major Taylor (1878-1932): First African-American To Achieve World Champion


300px Taylor Marshall 1900 Major Taylor (1878 1932): First African American To Achieve World Champion

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Many current cyclists look up to Ken Kifer. ┬áBut, Ken Kifer looked up to Major Taylor and wrote admiringly of Taylor’s courage, strength of character, refusal to hate white people no matter how bigoted and cruel they were to him, and determination to continue doing the right thing.

Marshall Walter (Major) Taylor was an African-American athlete who, despite receiving bigoted and abusive treatment on and off the cycling race tracks, excelled so at racing that he became the U.S.A.’s first African-American world champion.

Although white, Ken Kifer felt an affinity for Major Taylor. ┬áKifer wrote, “In our involvement in cycling, Taylor and I did not have much in common….On the other hand, as a cyclist and as a person, I have experienced undeserved attacks caused by ethnocentric intolerance just because I did not conform to the majority.”

We cyclists would do well to learn more about Major Taylor and attempt to emulate him as we deal with the bigotry and lack of education against bicycling.

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 Major Taylor (1878 1932): First African American To Achieve World Champion
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