The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero
In the tradition of The Boys in the Boat and Seabiscuit, a fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking but forgotten figure—the remarkable Major Taylor, the black man who broke racial barriers by becoming the world’s fastest and most famous bicyclist at the height of the Jim Crow era.
In the 1890s, the nation’s promise of equality had failed spectacularly. While slavery had ended with the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws still separated blacks from whites, and the excesses of the Gilded Age created an elite upper class. Amidst this world arrived Major Taylor, a young black man who wanted to compete in the nation’s most popular and mostly white man’s sport, cycling. Birdie Munger, a white cyclist who once was the world’s fastest man, declared that he could help turn the young black athlete into a champion.
Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn—especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks. In The World’s Fastest Man, years in the writing, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor’s life. Kranish shows how Taylor indeed became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day.
From a moment in time just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were king, the populace was booming with immigrants, and enormous societal changes were about to take place, The World’s Fastest Man shines a light on a dramatic moment in American history—the gateway to the twentieth century.
What people are saying - Write a review
The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports HeroUser Review - www.publishersweekly.com
Political reporter Kranish (Trump Revealed) narrates the life of Marshall “Major” Taylor, an African-American man who became the world’s greatest cyclist in what was one of the nation’s most popular ... Read full review
A Rematch with Eddie Bald
In Pursuit of the Championship
A Race Run for Blood
A Black Man in Paris
The Terribly Dangerous and Beautiful Races
Voyage of the Titans
The Caged Bird Sings
The Strain Is Too Great
PART TWO THE JUMP
The Rivalry Begins
Major Taylors Life in Danger
The Fighting Man
A Faraway Land
The Changing World
My Last Race
Other editions - View all
African American arrived athletic Australia auto automobile beat bicycle racing bike Birdie Bois Boston Globe Brady Breyer called career champion championship Chicago city’s color compete competitors contest Coquelle crowd cycling cyclists Daisy earlier Eddie Bald Europe Fastest Bicycle Rider France French Gilbert Gilbert Taylor headed headline heat hundred Indiana State Museum Indianapolis Jacquelin Jim Crow laws July L’Auto later Madison Square Garden Major Taylor Major Taylor papers match McFarland miles motorized Munger Negro newspaper one-mile pace Paris Park pedaled president Press promoter racers racism refused reported ride rode Roosevelt scrapbook September six-day race South speed sport sprint starting line story Street Sydney Taylor wrote thousand tire told took track train trainer Vélo velodrome victory Vie au Grand W. E. B. Du Bois Washington wheel Wheelmen Worcester Telegram world record world’s fastest Wormley Publishing York City Zimmerman