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As the 20th century was dawning, bicycle racing was one of most popular spectator sports in the U.S. and Marshall “Major” Taylor, a Black cyclist from Indianapolis, was one of its biggest international stars.

By 1898, 20-year-old Taylor held seven world records and in August 1899 he had reached world championship status after winning the one-mile sprint in the world cycling championships in Montreal.

When he retired in 1910, he’d won thousands of dollars and made headlines across the U.S., Australia and Europe, sometimes under nicknames like the “Black Streak,” “Black Cyclone” or “Worcester Whirlwind,” for the Massachusetts city where he won some of his most famous races.


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