Sunday, February 11, 2007

Black History Month

Major Taylor

As some of you may know it's Black History Month. As such, this is an excellent opportunity to answer the question Who is Major Taylor?. Born Marshall Taylor in 1878 on a farm rural Indiana he earned the nickname 'Major' performing cycling tricks wearing a military uniform. Major Taylor won the world one-mile track cycling championships not once but three times in 1899, 1900, 1901. He also has the honor of being the second black world champion in any sport.

Despite his skill and ability, Major Taylor retired at 32. Sadly, racism played a large role in that decision. Major Taylor's determination and memory live on in the Major Taylor Society, the Major Taylor Association, and Team Major Taylor.

The 'Little 500' is a unique cycling race conducted at the Indianapolis University. Modeled on the Indianapolis 500 it is a 54 year old tradition broadcast on ESPN, ABC's Wide World of Sports and was the inspiration for the 1979 movie, 'Breaking Away'. Lance Armstrong called the Little 500 "the coolest event I ever attended". It is also at this event that Team Major Taylor (TMT) have become a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps it can be best summed with a quote from Major Taylor himself:

"It is my thought that clean living and a strict observance of the golden rule of true sportsmanship are foundation stones without which a championship structure cannot be built."

Something we should all take to heart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One wonders to what heights this extraordinary man could have risen if he had not had to ride in the shadow of racism. Few even to this day could hope to match his cadence. Thank you, Marshall Taylor, for all that you taught us. We still apply ourselves to mastery of your lessons.

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