Chicago organization pushing for national recognition for Black cyclist Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor


Chicago (WLS) — Cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor wasn’t from Chicago, but spent the last two years of his life there. His last residence was the historic Wabash Y, where a campaign to award Taylor with a congressional gold medal was launched on Tuesday.

“He went through things that people today can’t even imagine,” said Karen Brown Donovan, Taylor’s great-granddaughter.

He was once crowned the world’s fastest cyclist by winning a gold medal in the 1899 World Track Championships 1-mile sprint event.

Taylor’s story was featured in a short documentary, The Six Day Race: The Story of Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor.

“When I was younger, my classmates and friends had never heard of Major Taylor, but they had heard of other African American athletes, but the majors were actually 40 to 50 years old. It was years ago,” said Brownnovan.

Brown Donovan is in town to support a new initiative by the Bronzeville Trail Task Force to celebrate and honor the first black superstar athlete.

The task force is pressing Congress to award the Congressional Gold Medal after Taylor’s death.

They also hope to erect a memorial in Taylor’s honor as part of the Bronzeville Trail Project.

John Adams, founder of the Bronzeville Trail Task Force, said, “He needs to be inducted into the Great American, Great African American Hall of Fame, who has done so much for our country.

“I think he’s starting to get the recognition he deserves and it’s been great to see that evolve,” Brown-Donovan said.

She wants more Americans to know about Taylor’s achievements and the racism he endured just to compete in the sport he loves.

“We look forward to seeing Major Taylor’s story told in every public school in the country, and initiatives like this help make that happen,” Brown-Donovan said.

Click for more information on how you can help the Bronzeville Trail Task Force’s efforts to honor Taylor.



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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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