WASHINGTON – Senators Mike Braun and Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) have introduced a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, recognizing his extraordinary contributions to America as an athlete, trailblazer, role model, and advocate for equal rights. 

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 26, 1878, Major Taylor overcame significant racial barriers to become a world-renowned cyclist. Known for his exceptional sportsmanship and disciplined training, Taylor set numerous world records and was a pioneering figure in racially integrated sports. 

The House version of this bill to honor Major Taylor was introduced by Indiana Rep. Jim Baird and Illinois Rep. Jonathan Jackson. 

“Major Taylor’s legacy extends beyond his remarkable achievements on the track. He lived the Hoosier values of courage and resilience in the face of adversity, made his home state proud and paved the way for future generations of athletes.” 

– Senator Mike Braun

“Major Taylor was a record-setter on the track and a trailblazer for civil rights. Before the time of Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, Major Taylor won a gold medal competing at the highest level, pedaled through racial barriers, and helped to advance the rights of Black Americans in sports through his impressive skill and his charismatic commitment to expanding the joy of cycling to others. I am proud to introduce the Major Taylor Congressional Gold Medal Act with Senator Braun, helping to forever memorialize Taylor’s contributions to our nation’s rich heritage.”  

– Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock

The Congressional Gold Medal will be presented in a ceremony and given to Taylor’s great-granddaughter, Karen Donovan, to commemorate his enduring impact on the nation. 

More about Major Taylor:  

American bicycle racer Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (1878-1932) was among the world’s first Black sports superstars. He was world cycling champion in 1899, American sprint champion in 1900, and set numerous track cycling records. Nicknamed “Major” in his youth in Indianapolis because he would wear a military style jacket while doing tricks on his bike outside of a bike shop where he worked. He was the second African-American world champion in any sport (after Canadian-born bantamweight boxer George Dixon of Boston won his title in 1891).