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The First African American to Become the Fastest Man in the World

Major Taylor, Black man who was the fastest man in the world

In the 1890s, Major Taylor was a young Black man who wanted to compete in cycling - the nation’s most popular sport that was mostly played and dominated by white men. With a little help, he was transformed from a young hopeful athlete into a champion that went on to become the fastest man in the world during his time.
Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn - especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks.

In his book, The World’s Fastest Man, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals that Taylor not only became a world champion, but he also traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled Black men of his day.

Taylor was the headliner of a dramatic moment in American history just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were the main form of transportation.