It’s hard to believe after 36 years of teaching, this part of my life’s work will come to a close. It’s been an incredible journey that has taken me many places. As my teaching career nears its end, I’ve had a burning question stirring inside of me; “What more can I do?” There has to be more than just memories to leave behind. That’s when it struck me to establish a lasting legacy that could live well beyond my years. Something my former students, friends, family, and program partners could join in as one. So, I have decided to create a scholarship fund for Withrow High School students. l want this fund to shine and grow our community of young people and put them in a position to improve my life's passion for health and wellness.
Please join me on A Tiger’s Journeyby donating to the Michael Finnegan Health and Wellness Scholarship Fund. This will impact the Withrow student community well into the future. you can contribute by going to Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation website www.cincinnatischolarshipfoundation.org
Choose the donate tab on the upper right side. In the “In Honor Of” section, type in: Mike Finnegan Health and Wellness Scholarship Fund.
Item #: 201900421 RESOLUTION, submitted by Vice Mayor Smitherman, RECOGNIZING the extraordinary life of Marshall "Major" Taylor, the first African-American world champion in cycling and the second black athlete to win a world championship in any sport; and EXPRESSING the City of Cincinnati's support for and appreciation of the Major Taylor Cyclist Club of Cincinnati for celebrating his life and raising awareness regarding his remarkable legacy.
Marshall Walter Taylor was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 26, 1878. He received his first bicycle from the wealthy white family that employed his father.
He earned the nickname of “Major” because of the soldier’s uniform he wore while performing cycling stunts for a bike shop in Indianapolis. While working in the bicycle factory of a white cyclist, Taylor won his first amateur race at the age of 13.
It wasn’t long before he was competing in international races. He became the American sprint champion at age 18 in 1898. He went on to repeat that victory two more times.
In 1899, he reached the top of the cycling world by winning the world title in the 1-mile sprint. With that, he became the first African-American world champion in cycling and only the second African-American world champion in any sport.
What made his accomplishments even more impressive was the fact that he was a Black man who overcame open racism and overt threats of violence by those who did not want to see him succeed because track cycling at that time was dominated by the Europeans.
He established several world records during his 16 years of competition. In the 168 races in which he competed, he finished first in 117 and finished second in 32.
In 1902, he married Daisy Morris. His only child, a girl named Sydney, was born in Australia in 1904 (she passed away in 2005 at the age of 101 leaving one son, 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.)
In 1910, he retired from racing at age 32. His cycling fortune was drained quickly by failed business ventures and illness.
Major Taylor moved to Chicago in 1930 and tried selling his autobiography, “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World.” He died penniless on June 21, 1932 at the age of 53 in Chicago and was buried in an unmarked grave.
Years later in 1948, Frank Schwinn donated money to have his remains moved to a more prominent area of Mount Glenwood cemetery.
The bronze plaque on the new site of his grave reads: “World’s champion bicycle racer who came up the hard way without hatred in his heart; an honest, courageous and God-fearing, clean-living, gentlemanly athlete. A credit to his race who always gave out his best. Gone but not forgotten.”
To celebrate his achievements, the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, one of the world’s most renowned cycling venues, was named in his honor. He was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1989.
In 1996, USA Cycling posthumously awarded Taylor the Korbel Lifetime Achievement Award which was accepted by his great-granddaughter, Karen Brown-Donovan. In 2003, he was posthumously named a Sports Ethics Fellow by the Institute for International Sport
To create a network of people and resources that promote an appreciation of cycling and its health and fitness benefits, particularly targeting those communities disproportionately affected by health issues. Second to identify, develop and support athletes who will compete in domestic and international cycling competitions for the purpose of bringing about more diversity in the sport of cycling.