TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
February 8, 1998 -- Black History Month
Major Taylor's influence continues
By Lynne Tolman
The story of Marshall W. "Major" Taylor, world champion
bicyclist in 1899, continues to inspire. Among the events and efforts
in his memory:
The Major Taylor Association,
Inc., plans to create a Major Taylor monument in Worcester.
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 in 1999, 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 South Wales.
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 it.
In 1996, Karen 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 posthumously.
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 in 1997.
Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer"
an illustrated biography by Andrew Ritchie (Johns Hopkins University
More on Major Taylor
Lynne Tolman's bicycling
Lynne's home page
Contact: Lynne Tolman