Events and Activities

May  21, 2008
Major Taylor statue dedication
Worcester Public Library
Worcester, Mass.
Bike Ride           Ceremony          Panel Discussion

 Greg LeMond

 Edwin Moses

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and three-time Olympic medalist Edwin Moses were featured speakers at the public unveiling of the Major Taylor memorial May 21, 2008, at the Worcester Public Library. LeMond, who won a world championship in cycling 90 years after Major Taylor did, and Moses, who dominated the 400-meter hurdles in track and field for a decade, were each named "Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year" at the height of their athletic careers in the 1980s.

The statue of the "Worcester Whirlwind" created by sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez is Worcester's first monument to an African-American.

    Click here for a slide show of the ceremony.
    Click here for a 1-hour audio broadcast of the ceremony.
    Click here for more media coverage.
    Click here for audio files of some of the day's speeches, a video clip of the unveiling, and more photos, courtesy of AdventureCORPS.

Preceding the noontime ceremony, the Seven Hills Wheelmen and the Charles River Wheelmen's Wednesday Wheelers led a 30-mile bicycle ride starting and ending at the library. Riders met in the McGrath Municipal Parking Lot on Salem Street behind the library; the parking meters take 50 cents an hour. Click here for a map and cue sheet; follow the big neon green arrows painted on the pavement starting at Salem and Franklin streets. The route heads north on Major Taylor Boulevard, follows scenic roads in Holden, Princeton and Rutland, and offers a glimpse, on the return, of George Street, the very steep hill in downtown Worcester that was a training ground for Major Taylor. However, this route does not climb George Street.

 Derrick Z. Jackson

At 7 p.m. at the library, the Clark University History Department and Higgins School of Humanities presented a panel discussion on "Race, Sports, and Major Taylor's Legacy." Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson was moderator for these scholars, historians and authors exploring diversity in sports and society, then and now:

  • Andrew Ritchie, author of the biography "Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer" (1988)

  • Janette T. Greenwood, associate professor of history at Clark University, author of a case study of Worcester County's black community in the late 1800s and of "Bittersweet Legacy," on the emergence and interaction of the black and white middle class

  • David V. Herlihy, author of "Bicycle: The History" (2004), with research on Major Taylor's popularity abroad

  • C. Keith Harrison, associate professor of sports business management at the University of Central Florida, and associate director of the Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport

  • "The Worcester Whirlwind," an exhibit presented by the Worcester Historical Museum and the Major Taylor Association, was on display May 16-23 at the Worcester Public Library, in the Banx and Saxe Rooms. The exhibit consisted of images of 1899 world cycling champion Major Taylor, his adopted hometown of Worcester at the turn of the last century during bicycling's heyday, and other cycling greats and locales.

    The American Antiquarian Society, which offers free public tours at 3 p.m. Wednesdays, highlighted some items from its collection pertinent to the life and times of Major Taylor on the May 21 tour.

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