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The greatest hero America ever forgot...

Marshall “Major” Taylor was the first black world champion of any leading sport. He accomplished this feat 10 years before Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight champ, 35 years before Jessie Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, and nearly 50 years before Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball.


Major's sport was professional bicycle racing, a thrilling and dangerous spectacle that was our national pastime before baseball, and the world's most popular sport at the turn of the 19th century.


This period (1880-1900) was an era of glamor and innovation, with the advent of electric lighting, the telephone and motion pictures. But it was also a period of virulent racism; the "Jim Crow" era when lynching abounded and Ku Klux Klan membership soared into the millions.


Into this time of opportunity and peril rode Major Taylor . . .


Born into poverty, the grandson of slaves, challenged by his lifelong coach and friend, Birdie Munger (former US high-wheel cycling champion), Major overcame unimaginable odds, transmuting the vile prejudice of his era into a stunning ride to victory on both national and international stages.

In 1899, when Major fought his way to both the American and World Cycling Championships, he was the richest and most celebrated athlete on the planet; quite literally, history's first black superstar...Sadly, with the coming of the automobile and airplane, the sport of cycling was all but forgotten in America by the end of the Great Depression. And tragically, the vast achievements of its unlikely hero, Major Taylor, have faded from our national consciousness.

Through our ground breaking feature, Major Motion Productions & Michael Pollack Films will restore the legacy of Marshall Taylor, returning this hero of sports — and champion of human dignity — to his rightful place in our nation's story.


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