Marshall "Major" Taylor in Indy

The legacy of Indy icon Marshall "Major" Taylor, the world's first Black sports superstar, is celebrated across the Circle City. Taylor was born and raised in Indianapolis before becoming the first Black world-champion professional cyclist. Major Taylor not only had success in cycling but also paved the way for minority athletes to be vocal about both racial and social justice.

His story is told through interactive museums, public art pieces, special events, and places and spaces that celebrate cylcing in Indy. With the newest expansion of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and the anticipation of city-wide festivals in 2022, there's never been a better time to explore Major Taylor's legacy in the city. 


Bicentennial Legends Mural

Washington Street

A mural depicting Major Taylor on the side of a building. Major Taylor is shown in three stages of his life in the mural. Dedicated on September 9, 2021, this five-story mural of internationally recognized cyclist and Indy native Marshall “Major” Taylor (1878-1932) adorns the east-facing exterior of the Barnes & Thornburg LLP building, located at 11 S. Meridian St. The massive creation marks the first mural in the City of Indianapolis’ “Bicentennial Legends” series and is being completed by Chicago-based artist Shawn Michael Warren.


Major Taylor - Fastest Cyclist in the World

Indiana State Museum

Discover the life and career of the first Black world-champion professional cyclist, Major Taylor, in a new exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. The unique display will allow guests to see artifacts from Taylor’s career, learn about bicycle safety and design, tinker with bikes and bike parts, and test their skills and times on stationary bikes. The Major Taylor exhibit will open on March 5 and run through October 23. The exhibit is included with general admission.


Major Taylor Velodrome

Indy Cycloplex

A group of cyclists ride along a concrete oval.Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Major Taylor Velodrome is a 333-meter-long bike track that is home to the Major Taylor Racing League. The Velodrome plays host to races and cycling events year-round and has regularly hosted USA Cycling Track National Championships. All races and events at the Velodrome are free to attend.


"Talking Wall" Sculpture

525 N. Blackford St.

A metal sculpture depicts abstract human forms in a downtown park. Major Taylor's shape is seen riding a bicycle.African American artist Bernard Williams pays tribute to Major Taylor with his sculpture titled “Talking Wall.” The outdoor sculpture is a collection of symbols fused together to tell a story and promote a discussion around African American history in Indy. Major Taylor is depicted in the sculpture on his bike.


Markers on Public Trails

Monon Trail and Fall Creek Parkway Trail

A plaque reads "Marshall 'Major' Taylor: Born in Indianapolis 1878 Taylor moved to Massachusetts 1885 to pursue cycling career. In 1896 he set one-mile record at Capital City Track located here. He won his first professional race December 1896 and quickly established himself as a world class to cyclist. During his career, he sat world record distances from one-quarter mile through two miles."Major Taylor has recognition on two Indianapolis public trails. You can find the first marker on the Monon Trail at the 38th St. intersection and the second marker on Fall Creek Parkway Trail just east of 31st St. These plaques recognize the rich history of cycling in Indianapolis, including Major Taylor’s one-mile record at Capital City Track and the construction of Newby Oval,which attracted many prominent cyclists to Indianapolis.


Compact of Silence

Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site’s new exhibition highlights national and local Black civil rights activists during President Benjamin Harrison’s term in office (1889-1893). It explores the complex dynamics of race in late 19th century America, including the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 in Chicago, anti-lynching laws and movements, and Black voting suppression. The exhibit will be open to the public and included with general admission through November 1, 2022.


"World Record" Craft Cocktail

Cannon Ball Lounge

A tall cocktail glass sites alongside a book of Major Taylor.Cannon Ball Lounge at Hotel Indy celebrates the legends of Indianapolis through specialty craft cocktails. Pay homage to Major Taylor by imbibing the “World Record,” a sparkling, cranberry gin cocktail, at the rooftop lounge.


"Road to Deliberate Dreams" Mural

Indianapolis International Airport

A large mural depicts 3D renderings of people throughout history engaging in different modes of transportation. Major Taylor is seen riding his bike. The mural has bright colors and is in the Indianapolis International; Airport baggage claim. Muralist Marcus Akinlana created “Road to Deliberate Dreams” to showcase the unique spirit that Hoosiers bring to the industry of transportation. Major Taylor is featured speeding across the 40-foot mural alongside traditional modes of transportation of trains, planes, and more. The mural celebrates Indiana’s growth, and the prevalence of Major Taylor’s legacy adds character to the story.

 

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