What an Opportunity!!!

I was recently meditating on the sheer magnitude of what it is I envision doing with this project. What an enormous burden to resurrect such a great icon from yester year as Marshall 'Major' Taylor. The burden of resurrecting a legacy of a forgotten sports hero should be handled very delicately and not rushed into without thinking of all the ramifications. I have personally read the Autobiography written by Major Taylor himself and the biography written by Andrew Ritchie withmajthe help of Taylor's daughter, Sydney (named after Sydney, Australia where Taylor was treated with the utmost respect and color wasn't an issue) in 1988.

Taylor's Autobiography, written with his own pen, presents a man that had many struggles on the Bicycle Race Track because of his race. Although the book, titled 'The Fastest Bicycle Racer in the World', was poorly written, through the pages of his book, I found him to be a very dignified man whose ceaseless focus was to overcome all obstacles thrown in his way regardless of the personal cost to him. He rarely spoke of his family or how his post racing days affected his outlook on life. A broader more objective look was given to Taylor by Andrew Ritchie in his 1988 Biography of Taylor called "The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer." After alot of research that stretched from the United States to France and Australia, interviews with Taylor's only child, Sydney, I gained much more appreciation for Taylor than I derived from his own writings. Taylor's writings, while a few struggles with other riders were mentioned, painted a very rosy picture of his career while Ritchie's writings gave much more detail.

What I found of particular interest in Ritchie's book that Taylor never addressed was around 1907-1910 when Taylor's career was winding down and he no longer was the best of the best (age started to catch up with him) how he struggled and felt incredibly insecure about not making as much in prize money as he used to and his worries (indicated in letters to his wife Daisy) about wanting to buy his wife nice things but he could no longer do so because he wasn't winning as much as he had just 4 years earlier. After his 2nd retirement from racing in 1910, he really struggled to adapt because he was no longer traveling the world and was forced to be at home with his family. He started getting depressed and would isolate himself, within his house, from his wife and daughter.

I said all of that to say this, my project of presenting Marshall Taylor to the world is going to present the man as dignified, driven, a pioneer, and as the greatest African-American sports hero of all-time. Taylor did something no other African-American in the history of the world had done, become a World Champion Bicycle racer which was an all white sport at the time, he integrated a major sports team (bicycle racing) at a time when integrating anything in this country was unheard of! Marshall Taylor Bicycles is going to do what no other bicycle company has done, that is to totally capture the inner-city consumer through bicycle design and decor that speaks directly to their culture. It will be done with the class and dignity that personified the man, Marshall 'Major' Taylor.


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