Major Taylor Statue Dedication Ceremonies in Worcester, MA, on May 21, 2008
Photos by Chris Kostman, in support of Major Taylor Association
Plus, at the end of this slideshow, photos of my visit to Walden Pond on May 22.

About the Statue | Book Excerpt | Worcester Telegram article

Indy Star article | More Media Coverage | Major Taylor Association

The Major Taylor Association was formed by residents of Worcester, MA who became intrigued with the story of Marshall "Major" Taylor, the 1899 world champion bicycle racer from Worcester who overcame racial prejudice to become the first internationally acclaimed African-American sports star. One of the MTA's main goals was to erect a statue in honor of Taylor.

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and three-time Olympic medalist Edwin Moses were among the featured speakers at the public unveiling of the Major Taylor Statue on Wednesday, May 21, at the Worcester, MA Public Library.

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" created by sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez is Worcester's first monument to an African-American.

That evening, the Clark University History Department and Higgins School of Humanities presented a panel discussion on "Race, Sports, and Major Taylor's Legacy." Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson was moderator for the scholars, historians and authors exploring diversity in sports and society, then and now.

I was extremely pleased and honored to attend the ceremony and all the festivities surrounding the unveiling of the Major Taylor Statue in Worcester, MA. Every moment of this experience was meaningful and inspiring and the memories will last a lifetime. I hope the video, the audio files, and this slideshow help to commemorate a wonderful and historic occasion. (I also took the opportunity to visit the site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin in the woods at nearby Walden Pond.)

Text from the Major Taylor Statue:

At the turn of the 20th century, when bicycle racing was more popular than baseball
the biggest draw of all was Major Taylor (1878-1932).
"The Worcester Whirlwind"
He held seven world records in 1898 and won the 1-mile sprint in 1899 at the World Championships in Montreal, becoming the second black world champion in any sport
and the first African-American international sports superstar.
He had to fight racial prejudice both on and off his bike.
He faced closed doors and open hostility with remarkable dignity
to become "the fastest bicycle rider in the world"
as he titles his autobiography.

Listen to audio recordings from the statue unveilling ceremony:

Audio File 1: Edwin Moses, Honorary National Chairman of the Major Taylor Association; Olympic track and field star: Click here.

Audio File 2: General Dallas C. Brown Jr, grandson of Major Taylor: Click here.

Audio File 3: Karen Brown Donovan, great granddaughter of Major Taylor: Click here.

Audio File 4: Bill Humphreys, pioneer American cyclist who competed in Europe in the 70s: Click here.

Audio File 5: Greg LeMond, three-time Tour de France champion and 1989 world champion: Click here.

Audio File 6: Robert Nasdor, president of the Major Taylor Association: Click here.

Listen to audio recordings from the panel discussion "Race Sports, and Major Taylor's Legacy":

Audio File 7: Andrew Ritchie, author of "Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer": Click here.

Audio File 8: David Herlihy, author of "Bicycle: The History": Click here.

Audio File 9: Janette T. Greenwood, associate professor of history at Clark University: Click here.

Audio File 10: C. Keith Harrison, associate professor of sports business management at the University of Central Florida: Click here.

Click here to watch a video of the unveiling of the statue! (30 megs)

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