May 19, 2008

congratulating the Major Taylor Association, Inc., on the occasion of the unveiling of the Major Taylor memorial monument.

WHEREAS, bicycle racer Marshall W. “Major” Taylor, aka “the Worcester Whirlwind,” who was born in 1878 in Indiana and lived most of his life in Worcester; and

WHEREAS, Major Taylor was a member of an integrated racing team in Massachusetts and in 1894, the national League of American wheelmen banned African-Americans from their ranks, but that ban was opposed by the Massachusetts delegate to the League; and

WHEREAS, the ban was thereafter lifted, establishing the vital role Massachusetts played in allowing Major Taylor’s talent to flourish in an era of segregation; and

WHEREAS, by 1898, Major Taylor had set 7 world records and, in 1899, he earned the title of the world bicycling champion and became the first international black sports superstar; and

WHEREAS, Major Taylor’s world fame faded after his retirement in 1910 and he died in poverty and obscurity, despite having earned acclaim for bicycle racing victories throughout Europe and Australia and having been one of the wealthiest African-Americans in America, as described in his autobiography “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World”; and

WHEREAS the Major Taylor Association, Inc., was formed in 1999 by Worcester residents to celebrate the centennial of Major Taylor’s world championship, to erect a permanent memorial to him in Worcester, and to educate people about Major Taylor’s life and legacy; and

WHEREAS the Major Taylor Association developed and distributed a Major Taylor curriculum guide that has been used by teachers in 25 states and has been associated with more than 65 educational presentations, displays, exhibits, and events across Massachusetts and in other states; and

WHEREAS, the Major Taylor Association has staged the George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor annually which takes place on a steep hill in downtown Worcester on which Major Taylor trained; and

WHEREAS, the Association raises awareness of Major Taylor nationwide through affiliations with cycling groups in 14 states and has raised more than $70,000 from the private sector along with a 2006 state appropriation of $205,000 to erect a Major Taylor memorial; and

WHEREAS, the Major Taylor Association commissioned sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez to create a monument to Major Taylor, Worcester’s first public monument to an African-American, which will be erected on public space outside the Worcester Public Library; and

WHEREAS, world-class athletes, including three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and three-time Olympic medalist Edwin Moses, are honoring Major Taylor’s memory by participating in the unveiling of the monument in Worcester on May 21, 2008; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Massachuetts General Court hereby commends the Major Taylor Association on its dedicated efforts to commemorate the courageous life of Major Taylor and further congratulates the Association on the occasion of the unveiling of the Major Taylor memorial monument and the creation of an historic landmark in the city of Worcester; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of these resolutions be transmitted forthwith by the clerk of the Senate to the Major Taylor Association, Inc.

SENATE, adopted May 19, 2008
(signed by) Therese Murray, president of the Senate
(signed by) William F. Welch, clerk of the Senate

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, adopted in concurrence, May 19, 2008
(signed by) Salvatore F. DiMasi, speaker of the House
(signed by) Steven T. James, clerk of the House

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