Featured Athlete Marshall “Major” Taylor: This is the story of a young African-American boy who grew up in Indianapolis over a hundred years ago. Despite living at a time when African-Americans were often denied basic rights, Marshall Taylor became a world champion cyclist.
Marshall earned the nickname “Major” when he performed bicycle tricks as a very young boy dressed in a military style costume. When he was a teenager he stopped performing tricks and moved on to bicycle racing – and he was really, really good – world champion good! His story is inspiring because he persevered even when there were many people who didn’t want him to even be in a race, let alone win, just because he was African-American. Sometimes he rode fast just to get away from angry people chasing him! Author: Marlene Targ Brill
In Indianapolis, we have the Major Taylor Velodrome, a world-class bicycle racing track named for this cycling great. You can
ride your bike and also use inline skates at the Velodrome. If you want to try riding there, it’s best if you are at least 10 years old. Call ahead and see if you can arrange a time to go try it out. And don’t forget your helmet! 3649 Cold Spring Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46222 Velodrome Phone: 317-327-8356.
Websites – Marshall Taylor:
- Look Inside Marshall “Major” Taylor
- Who Was Major Taylor?
- NPR: Marshall Taylor Statue Dedication
- Exploratorium: Science of Cycling
- KidsHealth: Bike Safety
- NHTSA: Kids and Bicycle Safety
Featured Athlete Oscar Robinson: Have you ever heard of Indiana’s own Olympian Oscar Robertson? In 1955 Oscar went to Crispus Attucks High School. Oscar’s team won the Indiana State Championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. Robertson led Crispus Attucks to another championship in 1956. Oscar was so good he played in College and went on to win a gold medal with the US Basketball team at the 1960 Olympic Games.
Websites – Oscar Robertson:
- Oscar Robertson The Big O
- ESPN: The Forgotten Hoosiers
- NBS Encyclopedia: Oscar Robertson
- Basketball Hall of Fame: Oscar Robertson
Websites – African-American Athletes:
- ESPN: Black Athletes Beyond the Field
- Smithsonian: Olympic Athletes Who Took a Stand
- Bleacher Report: The 20 Most Influential African-American Athletes Who Changed Sports Forever
- Huffington Post: The 30 Greatest African-American Athletes of All Time
- PBS History Detectives: African-American Athletes
Books – African-American Athletes:
- Catalog Search: African American Athletes
More Info Guides about Black History:
- Black History: Athletes
- Black History: Authors & Illustrators
- Black History: The Civil Rights Movement
- Black History: IndyPL Digital Collections
- Black History: Martin Luther King Jr.
- Black History: Musicians & Singers
- Black History: Painters & Artists
- Black History: Scientists & Inventors
- Black History: Slavery
- Read Right Now! Black History
- Read Right Now! African American Stories