John Baxter Taylor, The First African-American Olympic Gold Medalist

John Baxter Taylor Jr.

Born in 1882, John Baxter Taylor Jr. grew up in Philadelphia. There, Taylor studied at Brown Preparatory School. This launched his lifetime career as an athlete, as he would compete in relay games and championships for the school. 
According to Penn Libraries, Taylor continued his line of victories from the years 1903 through 1908. During this period of time in his young life, Taylor won three IC4A 440-yard titles. But he made history further after competing in the Olympics in 1904 and recording the fastest time with 49.2, according to the official Olympics website.

The biographical article continues to share that he competed again three years later in 1907 and beat his own record with 48.8 on the clock. Taylor truly earned the regard that came with being the first Black Olympic gold medalist. One year later, Taylor again beat his personal best with a time of 48.2.

Taylor obtained a degree in veterinary medicine at Penn and set out to open his own practice from his stint in the Olympics. Sadly, Taylor never got to fully realize this dream as he died of typhoid fever the same year.