HE Believed in Marshall Taylor

I am so remiss readers...Up to this point I have pointed out the accomplishments of Marshall Taylor, Wendell Scott, Debbie Thomas and others and I failed to mention those people, coached, trainers, teammates and others who believed in them enough to stake their reputations on the line by supporting these black athletes who were ground breakers in their respective sports. The first coach I will give tribute to is Marshall Taylor's coach and mentor...one Louis 'Birdie' Munger. Munger was the Lance Armstrong of his day in that he rode and raced the old English 'High Wheel Bicycles' long distances and was one of the few fellows to complete a cross country ride on a bicycle.

This feet was so extraordinary because in the 1880s, the nations road system (excluding some of the East Coast) was...well, WAGON TRAILS! An interesting little fact about Birdie Munger is that he was born in the same small town-county I was...Black Hawk County, Iowa in 1864! Birdie Munger was one of the many whites at the time who sympathized with the cause of blacks, keeping in mind that black slaves freed only 1 year after his birth, but he was one of the few sympathizers who put his reputation on the line to do what few others would do, and that was coach a black athlete (Taylor) at a time when, legally, black weren't even supposed to be on the same fields of athletic competition as whites.

Now let me back up for a hot second. Munger didn't decide to believe in Taylor AFTER seeing his prowess on the bicycle, he believed in, mentored and cared for a 16 year old Taylor because Taylor reminded Munger of himself in many ways. Young, hungry, and willing to do whatever it took to be the best in the world. As Munger started to coach Taylor, it became evident that his faith was well placed. At 16 years of age, Taylor was only 1 second shy of the world record as clocked by Munger on a Track in Indianapolis! Munger's coaching and belief took Taylor to the top of the track racing world from at least 1898-1905. In between those years, Taylor won 3 bicycle track Championships and even had a country, France, change their race days from Sundays to mid-week because the French wanted to see this 'Le Negro Valante' as they called him.

This is translated into 'The Flying Negro'. (This was in 1903-1904 yall). Taylor made a promise to his mother before she died that he would never race on Sundays due to the fact that she was a very religious woman. Munger tried to talk Taylor out of his commitment to his moms even though the largest racing days around the world were Sundays back then. French officials offered Taylor $10,000 in the year 1900 to race on Sunday and he refused! Dollar conversion scales from 1900-2008 say that $10,000 in 1900 is worth about $111,000 TODAY! To race for several days!
Not only was Munger a great High Wheel Racer and a great coach, this guy was the hottest bicycle designer in the late 19th Century (see above design if you think I am lying)

Were there no Louis 'Birdie' Munger, you or I may have never heard of the Greatest Sprint Bicycle Racer of all time, Marshall 'Major' Taylor.


Post a Comment 1 comments:

buy pit bikes online said...

This classical bike is already rare and it was belong into museum. It cost millions already.

March 1, 2011 at 2:45 AM

Post a Comment