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Major Taylor Statue

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The Major Taylor memorial outside the Worcester Public Library in Salem Square, depicting 1899 world cycling champion Marshall W. “Major” Taylor (1878-1932), is Worcester’s first monument to an individual African-American. Created by Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez, it was installed in 2008 and given to the city by the nonprofit Major Taylor Association, Inc.  An Indiana native who lived most of his life in Worcester, Major Taylor had to fight Jim Crow prejudice just to get on the starting line. He quickly became a crowd favorite in an era when bicycling was more popular than baseball, admired not only for his athletic prowess but also his strength of character. Throughout his racing career, “the Worcester whirlwind” faced closed doors and open hostility with remarkable dignity. He held seven world records at the end of 1898 and won the world 1-mile championship the next year in Montreal. The two-sided memorial features a granite wall showcasing a larger-than-life bronze statue of Taylor standing with his bicycle at a velodrome, and a bronze bas relief of Taylor in action, launching his famous “come from behind” sprint on the track.

 

Courtesy of Major Taylor Association 

 

  • History
  • Arts and Culture
  • Worcester
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