Marshall "Major" Taylor was born November 26, 1878 in Indianapolis. He started his bicycling career when he was just a teenager, becoming a professional racer at the age of 18. Taylor was the first African American to win the World Championship in cycling. He also broke seven world records for speed!
Not only was Major Taylor a fantastic athlete he also challenged the racial prejudice he encountered on and off the track. Some of Taylor's fellow racers would refuse to compete with him, others resorted to intimidation, verbal insults, and threats to physically harm him. Taylor even ran into trouble when buying his home in Worcester, MA. His white neighbors attempted to buy the home for $2,000 more than the purchase price or $2,850.
After breaking records and changing the sport, Major Taylor retired at the age of 32. During the early years of his retirement Taylor wrote and self-published his autobiography, "The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World."