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Marshall “Major” Taylor World Champion Cyclist 1899-1901 is the story of a young 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 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!
In Indianapolis, we have the Major Taylor Velodrome, a world-class bicycle racing track named for this cycling great.
The Muhammad Ali Boxing Game is an Artifact at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It showcases the popularity of Ali. How many athletes have a game named after them? During the 1960’s boxer Cassius Clay, who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, was a positive role model for many African-Americans. Ali was more than a boxer. He expressed his political views on the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. In 1967, Ali was stripped of his world title due to his refusal to be drafted. After retiring, Ali collaborated with the United Nations to promote peace around the world.
- Look Inside Marshall “Major” Taylor, World Champion Cyclist 1899-1901
- Who Was Major Taylor?
- ESPN: Black Athletes Beyond the Field
- Biography.com: African-American Firsts: Athletes
- Huffington Post: The 30 Greatest African-American Athletes of All Time
- PBS History Detectives: African-American Athletes
- Printable: Jackie Robinson Coloring Sheet
- Printable: Joe Louis Stamp Coloring Sheet
Biography in Context is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home with your IndyPL Library Card. Login using your library card number and PIN. What’s My PIN? Biography in Context will show you biographies, magazines, videos and more about Marshall Taylor and other African American Athletes.
Use your indyPL Library Card number and PIN to check out FREE Online eBooks. Click on a book jacket & enter your Library Card number and PIN to borrow. What’s My PIN?
Moreabout Black History:
- Black History: Athletes
- Black History: Authors & Illustrators
- Black History: The Civil Rights Movement
- Black History: Cowboys, Pioneers & the American West
- Black History: IndyPL Digital Collections
- Black History: Musicians & Singers
- Black History: Painters & Artists
- Black History: Scientists & Inventors
- Black History: Slavery
- Read Right Now! Black History
To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.
“To get young people engaged, one of the things they need is to see themselves in books. It is important for all of us to see ourselves in books, because that encourages us to read in a different way and encourages us to write more.” ~ Dr. Jerrie Cobb Scott Founder of the African American Read-in #weneeddiversebooksPrint This Post