Many current cyclists look up to Ken Kifer. But, 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. Kifer 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.
- “One A Day” Black History Month ~ Mr. Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (theobamacrat.com)
- Major Taylor Spin-A-Thon fundraiser, bringing bicycle programs to local … – Westseattleherald.com (westseattleherald.com)
- Marshall Walter (Major) Taylor (wikipedia.org)