08 May 2008

Ceremony to honor Major Taylor

Major Taylor MA bicycle heroOn May 21st Worcester Public Library will unveil a statue installed in honor of the "Worcester Whirlwind", Major Taylor. Greg LeMond and Edwin Moses will be speaking.

Taylor is indisputably a cycling hero and his life story is all the more poignant because he had to overcome terrible racism to achieve his success.

Taylor had a number of endorsement deals at the height of his career and a particular form of trussed bicycle has become associated with his name. When you see a bicycle with an extra top tube, impress your friends when you tell them Major Taylor's story, and also how he was the first athlete with paid endorsements.

In addition to being the second African American ever to win a world championship in any sport, and a true hero, I think he was a smart man. I try very hard to live his wisdom:

"Life is too short for a man to hold bitterness in his heart."
Marshall W. 'Major' Taylor

1 comment:

LTolman said...


Three-time Tour de France winner GREG LeMOND and three-time Olympic medalist EDWIN MOSES will be featured speakers at the public unveiling of the Major Taylor memorial from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 21, 2008, at the Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square, Worcester, Mass. The sculpture depicting the 1899 world cycling champion is Worcester's first monument to an African-American.

For details visit
or follow links from the Events page at www.majortaylorassociation.org

LeMond, who won a world championship in cycling 90 years after Major Taylor did, and Moses, who dominated the 400-meter hurdles in track and field for a decade, were each named "Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year" at the height of their athletic careers in the 1980s.

The statue of the "Worcester Whirlwind" was created by Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez. The dedication ceremony will be followed by a reception with refreshments in the library's Banx Room.

Preceding the noontime ceremony, the Seven Hills Wheelmen and the Charles River Wheelmen's Wednesday Wheelers will lead a 30-mile bicycle ride starting and ending at the library.

At 7 p.m. May 21 at the library, the Clark University History Department and Higgins School of Humanities will present a panel discussion on "Race, Sports, and Major Taylor's Legacy." Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson will be moderator for these scholars, historians and authors exploring diversity in sports and society, then and now:

-- Andrew Ritchie, author of the biography "Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer" (1988)

-- Janette T. Greenwood, associate professor of history at Clark University, author of a case study of Worcester County's black community in the late 1800s and of "Bittersweet Legacy," on the emergence and interaction of the black and white middle class

-- David V. Herlihy, author of "Bicycle: The History" (2004), with research on Major Taylor's popularity abroad

-- C. Keith Harrison, associate professor of sports business management at the University of Central Florida, and associate director of the Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport

For Major Taylor books, posters and jerseys, go to

P.S. to out-of-towners:
The Hilton Garden Inn (www.worcester.stayhgi.com) on Major Taylor Boulevard is offering a special discount for guests attending the Major Taylor dedication May 21. To get the special rate, call the Worcester hotel directly at 508-753-5700, not the chain's toll-free reservations number, ask for Ashley, and say you're coming for the Major Taylor statue dedication. For airport shuttle from Boston (BOS), Providence (PVD), Hartford (BDL) or Manchester, N.H. (MHT), we recommend Knight's, www.knightslimo.com -- tell them you were referred by the Major Taylor Association.

Again, the link for details is:
or just start from the Events page at www.majortaylorassociation.org

-- Lynne
Lynne Tolman