Even today cycling is viewed mostly as a non-black sport. But one of the fastest men ever to race on two wheels was Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, an American who dominated sprint cycling in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
A gifted rider, Taylor won his first amateur race he entered, at 14. He turned professional four years later and continued winning races, most of the races were around an oval track at Madison Square Garden and other arenas in the eastern US.
Soon Taylor was competing in races across Europe and Australia. Hailed in newspapers as the “Black Cyclone,” Taylor entered the history books as the first Black American to become a cycling world champion when he won the sprint event at the 1899 World Track Championships.
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