MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The legacy of Marshall “Major” Taylor is unknown to some, but there is a push to ensure the first African-American pro cyclist gets the recognition he has earned.
Taylor was a sports superstar who shattered a world record while also shattering racial barriers, but these days many don’t know of his accomplishments. In Memphis, the Major Taylor Memphis Cycling Club rides for health, and to honor history.
Taylor was just 18 years old when he became a professional bicycle racer in 1896. It was in 1899 when he became the first African-American to achieve the level of world cycling champion.
In January, his hometown of Wabash, Indiana recognized Major Taylor, calling him one of the greatest cyclists to ever live and one of the fastest men on earth.
Here at home in the Mid-South back in September, members of the Memphis Club joined forces with WREG’s GoJimGo campaign to raise awareness and money for kids at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.
At times they wore the GoJimGo kit, while other times donning the Major Taylor gear.
They were doing as Major Taylor once did, working to laving a lasting impact.
This offers the chance for kids to see others they can relate to, bike past barriers.
There are more than 80 Major Taylor cycling groups around the world with international clubs in Kenya, the United Kingdom and Taiwan.