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Marshall 'Major' Taylor
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    (November 26, 1878-June 21, 1932)
    Born in Indiana
    Marshall Walter Taylor
    World champion cyclist (rider, sprinter)
    Nicknamed 'The Worcester Whirlwind'
    Set numerous world records in the field of cycling (also winning over 160 races)
    Held seven World Records for cycling, in 1898
    Made his professional debut with the Albion Cycling Club at Madison Square Gardens, winning the 1/2 mile open-handed cap and the prize $200 purse, in 1896
    Won the World 1 Mile (1.6 km) Track Cycling Championship (1899)
    First African-American cyclist to achieve the level of world champion
    Formally quit the track, in 1910, at the age of 32; died penniless at the age of 53, in Chicago, Illinois
    Exhumation of his remains from an unmarked grave was organized by a group of former pro bikers and Schwinn Bicycle Co.; remains were relocated to a more prominent part of Mount Glenwood Cemetery in Thornton Township, Illinois, near Chicago (1948)
    Major Taylor monument, a sculpture by Antonio Tobias Mendez, was commissioned by the Major Taylor Association and installed in front of the city library in Worcester, Massachusetts, in May 2008
    He named his daughter Sidney.
    He was nicknamed 'the Black Cyclone.'
    He oh so modestly titled his autobiography, 'The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World.'
    He has been forgotten to the point where Worcester residents mistakenly believe that Major Taylor Boulevard is named after some famous historical military leader.
    He was dependent on nitroglycerines (which were frequently supplied to riders to keep them awake during races with high attendance).
    His dependence on the drug got to be so bad that he began to suffer hallucinations; once refusing to continue a New York race, saying 'I cannot go on with safety, for there is a man chasing me around the ring with a knife in his hand!'
    He lost all of his finances during the Great Depression, compounded by several bad investments (including self-publishing his autobiography which he sold out of his car).
    Teddy Roosevelt was one of his biggest fans.
    He has been compared to Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson.
    He was one of eight children. He became an expert trick rider known for performing stunts in an officer's uniform by the age of 13 (hence the nickname 'Major').
    He was deeply religious - never racing on Sundays and always praying before his races.
    He was the first African-American international sports 'superstar.'
    He was only the second black man to win a world championship in any sport — after Canadian boxer George Dixon.
    He was a star cyclist during a time when the sport was easily more popular than baseball (he made more than twice the amount of the average ball player).
    He defeated every European champion who challenged him during his 1901 tour.
    His career was stunted by racism, particularly in the Southern states which forbade blacks from competing against whites.
    He had ice thrown at him and nails scattered in front of his wheels during races (which were usually rigged to prevent him from winning anyway).
    He was posthumously inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame (1989).
    He is the namesake for a marketed brand of Nike sports blazer shoes.
    Blues artist, Otis Taylor, and the band, Oh Yeah!, dedicated popular songs to him ('He Never Raced on Sunday' and 'Major Taylor's Grave' respectively).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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