As I reported weeks ago, I’ve been reading the biography of ‘Major’ Taylor. Well to the pleasure of my brain cells and cultured spirit, I have finally finished it. Not by any means am I a big reader, so let me encourage many people who are like me. This was a great read, very educational and encouraging. The great obstacles this man faced need to be share, but also the , shall I say, bizarre success this great man had in his day and age is unmatched by any male athlete of color during this time.
He traveled the world with his beautiful wife, and child (only had one daughter named Sydney). Taylor received accolades from Europe, Germany, to Australia. Collecting animals, artifacts, and a great sense of self along the way. The book was wonderfully written, with great first hand accounts on his life. From the first race he was in to the the infamous “6 Day Race” at Madison Square Garden, up til his untimely death. Although being the most important figure in bicycle racing at the time, he still didn’t receive the love and acknowledgment that one would expect from being the world champion.
There are truly to many amazing facts to put into this blog. His life and tragic fall from grace are very intriguing. This isn’t a man who fell to the demons of drugs or alcohol, just stubbornness was his downfall. In fact, Mr. Taylor was a true god fearing man. A great example of extreme belief in self and his god. He actually, up til his latter years, refused to race on Sunday’s out of respect of the Sabbath. Which led to him losing an estimated 15-10,000 dollars, in the early 1900’s! Which is crazy, imagine if Kobe refused to play on Sundays?! HA!
Not only have I been inspired by his courageous efforts as a man, but also his style and grace are true inspirations to me as well. Traveling the world, he was introduced to many different styles and customs. This led to him having his own unique, classic, almost “Preacher” style. It was noted, that even at his lowest, penniless, loneliest points in his life, he always maintained a great presentation for any public appearance. He saw his clothing as an extension of himself off the track. Also his true bond to numbers “13” and unique color uniforms have pushed me into starting to design a collection based around him and his life. It is truly amazing were creativity can strike and about the 8 chapter, my brain started going crazy for ideas on how I would design the Major Taylor clothing line. It may never come into true fruition, but I will def add it to my portfolio. I would definitely thank the amazing artist, Patrick Earl Barnes for introducing me to such and incredible subject matter and inspiration. Our collaboration will turn out amazing! And a special thank you to the son of Gilbert Taylor and Saphronia Kelter, Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor for living an extraordinary courageous life. Being an example for all people that want to live a life of success despite the adversity they might face.
“... Life is too short for a man to hold bitterness in his heart, and that is why I have no feeling against anybody... never hated any rider that I ever competed against.” ~ “Major” Taylor