Uncovering The Story Of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's 1st Black Sports Star : NPR

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Fifty years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, one of the most famous athletes in America was an African American who had set countless records in a sport that had long shunned people of color. Major Taylor was a championship bicycle racer around the turn of the century, when cycling was America's most popular sport.

His remarkable career is the subject of a new book by our guest Michael Kranish. He writes that Taylor had to compete in the Jim Crow-era, when white promoters in both the North and South tried to keep him out of races, and white riders cursed and insulted him and sometimes tried to injure him in races. Taylor's talent made him such a sensation that he became a popular attraction at races in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Michael Kranish is an investigative reporter for The Washington Post. . . . He spoke to FRESH AIR's Dave Davies about his new book, "The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life Of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero."

MoBikeFed comment: Major Taylor's life story really is both inspiring and amazing. Visit NPR's web site to listen to or read the entire interview: