Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor (26 November 1878 – 21 June 1932) was an American cyclist who won the world 1 mile (1.6 km) track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. Taylor was the first African-American cyclist to achieve the level of world champion and only the second black man to win a world championship in any sport — after Canadian boxer George Dixon.
Taylor was the son of Gilbert Taylor, Civil War veteran, and Saphronia Kelter, who had migrated from Louisville, Kentucky, with their large family to a farm in rural Indiana. He was one of eight children: five girls and three boys. Taylor's father was employed in the household of a wealthy Indiana family, the Southards, as a coachman, where Taylor was also raised and educated. When Taylor was a child, his father would bring him to work. The employer had a son, Dan Southard, who was the same age and the two boys became close friends. Taylor later moved in with the family and was able to live a more advantaged life than his parents could provide.
This period of living and learning at the Southard house lasted from the time he was eight until he was 12 when the Southards moved to Chicago and Taylor "was soon thrust into the real world."..
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