Twelve years before Jack Johnson became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champ and fifty years before Jackie Robinson broke the MLB’s color barrier, Marshall “Major” Taylor started setting world records in the white-dominated world of professional cycling.
Taylor trained in Brooklyn and joined a competitive cycling group called the South Brooklyn Wheelmen, which drew crowds of 6,000 spectators to their grueling races at Madison Square Garden in the 1890s. Despite the discrimination he faced at every turn, Taylor was the first black athlete to become a World Champion Cyclist in 1899.
In “The World’s Fastest Man,” on sale now from Scribner, journalist Michael Kranish brings this sports pioneer’s extraordinary life to light, with never-before-seen details and a rare interview with Taylor’s daughter.
Michael Kranish is an author and a former correspondent for The Boston Globe. He is currently an investigative political reporter at The Washington Post. He’s the author of “Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money and Power.”