NewsArts & Culture / September 23, 2020

Major Taylor Mural Will Be First In City's Bicentennial Legends Series

Photos of Marshall Major Taylor taken by French photographer Jules Beau around 1906. - National Library of France/public domain

Photos of Marshall Major Taylor taken by French photographer Jules Beau around 1906.

National Library of France/public domain

A larger than life mural of cyclist and racial justice advocate Marshall Major Taylor will be the first in a series to grace downtown Indianapolis buildings. 

Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans Wednesday to paint the mural on the side of the Barnes and Thornburg building at 11 S. Meridian St.  The public art will be part of the city’s Bicentennial Legends series.  The Arts Council of Indianapolis is seeking an artist to install the work in 2021.

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

Taylor, born in Indianapolis in 1878, was known as the world's fastest cyclist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, winning races around the world.

At a time when Jim Crow Era laws were being institutionalized in the United States and the eugenics movement was gaining traction, Taylor saw his success on the track as a way to discredit the racist theories and fight for equality. He's credited with blazing a trail for other Black sports heroes like Jackie Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier more than 50 years after Taylor began racing.  

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