A new glossy color poster depicting 1899 world cycling champion Major
Taylor is available from the Major Taylor Association, Inc.
The 18-inch-by-24-inch poster reproduces an original oil painting
created this summer by James E. Ransome, illustrator of the children’s book
"Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist" (Simon & Schuster, 2004) by Lesa
When the writer-artist couple came to Worcester in April for a
book-signing, James Ransome offered to create the poster as a fund-raising
item for the Major Taylor Association.
AdventureCORPS, a California organization that stages the Furnace Creek
508 and other endurance cycling events, helped cover printing costs.
The poster is shown in color online at
www.majortaylorassociation.org/donations.shtml along with mail-order
instructions. It is offered as a premium in exchange for a $20 donation to
the nonprofit Major Taylor Association, which plans to build a statue of
Marshall W. "Major" Taylor at the Worcester Public Library. The Major
Taylor Association also offers a free Major Taylor curriculum guide to
teachers and youth groups, conducts educational presentations for schools
and civic groups, and stages cycling events that promote the legacy of
Orders will be taken for the poster at the third annual George Street
Bike Challenge for Major Taylor, which starts at 10 a.m. July 25 at George
and Main streets, Worcester.
WHO WAS MAJOR TAYLOR?
Marshall W. "Major" Taylor (1878-1932), who lived in Worcester, Mass.,
was world cycling champion in 1899, American sprint champion in 1900, and
holder of several world records in track cycling, a more popular sport in
those days than baseball. Known as "the Worcester Whirlwind" and "the
colored cyclone," Taylor was the second black world champion in any sport
(the first was bantamweight boxer George Dixon in 1891) and the first
African-American to compete on an integrated team, half a century before
Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Taylor had to fight prejudice
just to get on the starting line, and relied on his Christian principles
for guidance. He faced open hostility and closed doors with dignity and
quiet strength; for the most part, he let his legs do the talking, on the
bicycle tracks of the United States, Europe and Australia. For more
information about Major Taylor and the effort to put up a Major Taylor
statue, which will be Worcester’s first monument to an African-American,
visit the Major Taylor Association, Inc.,
at www.majortaylorassociation.org or contact Lynne Tolman at [email protected].