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.)