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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Forgotten Hero By Ken Kifer [Major Taylor Association]


Portrait2.jpg (7778 bytes)  About twenty years ago, I was browsing in a college library, looking for something interesting to read, when by chance I discovered Major Taylor's autobiography, next to a book on weightlifting.
  I have never been much of a fan of bicycle racing; however, I was intrigued by this story of a sports hero I had never heard of before, who raced back in the golden age of cycling at the turn of the century, and I read his book completely absorbed.  It was his personality, his struggle, and his open and unpolished writing style that made me his admirer, rather than his victories on the track.
  In our involvement in cycling, Taylor and I did not have much in common. I go on long, slow rides to enjoy the beauty of nature; Taylor's cycling consisted of short, vicious, high-speed battles that seldom lasted much over four minutes; nowhere does Taylor even mention the pleasure of cycling outdoors.
  On the other hand, as a cyclist and as a person, I have experienced undeserved attacks caused by ethnocentric intolerance just because I did not conform to the majority.  Taylor happened to be born with a black skin and could never hope to satisfy people who chose to draw the color line. Yet, he had the tenacity to fight the battle again and again without hating his rivals, no matter how unfair they were to him.

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