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Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor: Bronzeville task force wants national recognition for historic figure

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CHICAGO — The “world’s fastest man” of the early 20th century may not have been born in Chicago, but the city was his final home and resting place.

When the Bronzeville Trail Task Force (BTTF) first learned of Marshall “Major” Taylor’s move to Chicago in 1930, and subsequent death in 1932, the group took interest in his life, accomplishments, and recognition.

According to the Major Taylor Association, Taylor was “the world’s first black sports superstar,” winning races for sprinting and cycling at the national and world levels while breaking records and racial barriers.

BTTF’s goals include posthumous recognition at every level of government and by civic and religious organizations for Taylor becoming the first African American to achieve the level of “Cycling World Champion,” urge congress to issue a U.S. postage stamp in commemoration, commission a monument to be placed at the west trailhead of the Bronzeville Trail, and petition for him to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

That last goal comes with a national online campaign set to be launched Tuesday. Members of the BTTF, alongside Taylor’s great-granddaughter, plan to gather at the Wabash Avenue YMCA to announce the effort. WGN plans to livestream the event in its entirety within this story beginning at approximately 10 a.m.

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