Who was Major Taylor
Major Taylor's influence continues
By Lynne Tolman
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
February 8, 1998 -- Black History Month
The story of Marshall W. "Major" Taylor, world
champion bicyclist in 1899, continues to inspire. Among the events
and efforts in his memory:
- Jennifer Okere and Geneva Brown, who met as parishioners of the
Second Baptist Church in Worcester, are hoping to create a monument
on Worcester Common to memorialize Taylor.
- Enrique Washington of
Portland, Ore., an African-American who is working with Taylor's
great-granddaughter Karen Brown-Donovan in California to set up a
scholarship foundation in Taylor's memory, will give a presentation
about the champion cyclist at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Second Baptist
Church, 14 Hammond St.
- African-American cyclist Bruce
Bailey of North Hollywood, Calif., who has family roots in
Worcester, is raising money to take a group of teen-agers on a
cross-country bike pilgrimage to Worcester next summer, with Major
Taylor's life as the inspiration and theme.
- Doug Atkinson of
Canadian Video Services in Toronto, a consultant to film and video
producers, said he is responding to inquiries about Taylor and is
"becoming more and more convinced of the viability of a project
on the life of Major Taylor with every passing day."
- Worcester resident Sy Farnsworth recently gave the Worcester
Historical Museum an antique bicycle believed to have belonged to
Taylor. The museum is trying to authenticate the find before
putting it on display. Farnsworth got the bike from his
father, Thornton Farnsworth, who ran a storage business near Lincoln
Square. A Worcester family had failed to pay the bill for its
storage space, and Farnsworth sold off their belongings, but he kept
the bike, realizing its historical significance.
- A 1992 made-for-television movie, "Tracks of Glory,"
chronicled Taylor's racing seasons in Australia. His daughter,
Sydney Taylor Brown was born there and named for the capital of New
- The Octagon Cycling Club of Hartford has received permission from
Taylor Brown, 93, to mass-merchandise the Major Taylor jersey it
designed and has asked cycling apparel maker Pearl Izumi to produce
- In 1996, Brown-Donovan accepted the Korbel Lifetime Achievement
Award in Taylor's name from USA Cycling, which governs bike
racing. It was the first time the award had been given
- A student who stumbled upon the story of Major Taylor arranged for
the champion's posthumous induction into the Hall of Black
Achievement at Bridgewater State College last year.