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A Poem For Major Taylor

Updated on January 26, 2010

Major Taylor-Style and Grace

In the early 1870s Gilbert and Saphronia left Kentucky.

They hoped that, perhaps, Indiana might prove lucky.

Gilbert didn’t get credit for having fought in the Civil War.

Even afterward his glimpse of freedom was but a shooting star.

Along the railroad and canal, Gilbert Taylor tried his hand

At eking out a life, and farming a small plot of land.

Gilbert’s dream of prosperity didn’t come to pass.

His hopes would all fall through like the sands in an hour glass.

A coachman for the rich would soon be Gilbert’s fate.

He already had three children when Marshall came in 1878.

He and Saphronia would have three more to make the number seven.

But on the wings of Marshall they could fly a little closer to heaven.

Marshall would assume his mother’s faith as if it were built-in.

“Life would be a contest of stamina in a race against all sin.”

She taught him about God, about what was wrong and right.

Punishment in the hereafter would be applied equally to black and white.

As a child in Indianapolis he’d quickly come to know.

Hatred, poverty, prejudice, and something called Jim Crow.

There was nothing to discuss, young Marshall Taylor would see.

He could take the bus, but his seat would be among the last three.

Marshall Taylor would sweep and dust for only six bucks a week.

He performed his home-made bike tricks, but God soon would bless the meek.

Now they called him Major Taylor, because of the uniform he wore.

At the end of his life he deserved a better title and surely a whole lot more.

At the age of thirteen, with tears on his face, he was forced into a race,

A young black kid was set out front for experienced white racers to chase.

The pistol exploded and the chase began. At halfway he would ache.

For reasons he didn’t know, he rode like a man, this race they wouldn’t take.

He crossed the finish line with less than three lengths to spare.

He won this race that was more like a chase, of hounds against the hare.

He avoided the humiliating capture was awarded the gold medal for the race.

He rode even faster home to show his mother the medal and see her glowing face.

Marshall “Major” Taylor was talented, brave and answered every call.

In the Six Day races, although he was small, he would dazzle them all.

Major Taylor would set world records and win all sorts of races.

He won with explosive speed and put smiles on thousands of faces.

He would be the world champion and had such grace and style.

He won so much but the biggest prize, may have been his mother’s smile.

Micky Dee repaired most of the pictures here.


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    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Hey TomBrotherMan! I know you like this stuff! God bless you Brother!

    • justom profile image


      8 years ago from 41042

      Mick Dee, my brother you are a good and talented man. I had no knowledge of Mr. Taylor and I thank you for turning me on to him through this wonderful poem. Bless you, Peace!! Tom and Justin

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thank you very much Kim! I am very glad you liked it. Right now the Major Taylor Club I belong to is in Tennessee at their Spring "Summit". Thanks Kim!

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      9 years ago

      Amazing story in itself, then presented as a poem! Topped with information about cycling. Love it.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Yo my Brother MFB! You know it's all true! "Spinning their wheels in shame!"

    • MFB III profile image

      Matthew Frederick Blowers III 

      9 years ago from United States

      men have been chasing the races for years trying to overcome them and make them fiollw behind. I am proud that Major Taylor, took them all to task so long ago...and left them spinning their wheels in shame.~~~MFB III

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thank you very much Heart Felt Book. It's good to see you in these "neck-o-the-woods". Thanks for coming and commenting.

    • Heart Felt Book profile image

      Cheri Taylor 

      9 years ago from New York, NY

      This was great I learned so much from reading a poem I enjoyed it great hub educated me in all areas thanks much

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thanks Dim Flaxenwick. Our history is bit missing about Major Taylor. Not enough know about this fair & square hero. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      9 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks so much for that intersting hub. I know so little about racing, but the idea of the white men 'chasing' the black man , only to see major Taylor fly past the finishing line before the.........that made my day.

      So much injustice , you put it together well into a poem. Cheers.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thank you Nikki. He was a Great!

    • nikki1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanx for the share. Great hub.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thank you Peggy. Major Taylor bicycle clubs are popping up in many places and an overwhelming theme for most seems to be emphasizing fair play and promoting cycling for minorities. Thanks

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great story told in your wonderful style. I had not heard about Major Taylor previously and liked learning about him...especially the part about his mother's smile... Thanks!

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Yo yo Chris, please believe this. You know I just can't miss when friends like you create such bliss. If you weren't an ugly man I'd give you a kiss!

    • chrismarva profile image


      9 years ago

      You make me proud to be a follower of yours my friend, great job.... Chris

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thanks Sage. It was easy because he was so great and so nice. He did so much with his life but it was too short. Thanks

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thank you Ladybird. Let's see- Lady Bird Johnson. No. I don't you you are her. Larry Bird wore the number 33. I've got it! You're Larry Bird! N, no, no- Larry Bird would never wear those boots. Cause those boots were made for WALKIN'. Nope. You must be Larry Bird's wife. Gee- maybe you're just a lady who likes birds. Thanks

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      9 years ago

      Micky Dee, Thanks for sharing the history on Major Taylor. The poem is great. Your narrative has brought to life the legacy of a hero; very nicely expressed.

      I am with Ghost Whisper on this one, my sentiments exactly. "The best line. He won so much but the biggest prize, may have been his mother’s smile!" I absolutely loved the ending.

      Thanks for sharing,


    • Ladybird33 profile image


      9 years ago from Fabulous USA

      Very powerful poem, thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      That sounds so nice Ghost Whisper. You both are so lucky to have each other. I bet that smile is priceless.

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 

      9 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      I have never heard of him--so who says you don't learn something or two each day? Good story!

      The best line..He won so much but the biggest prize, may have been his mother’s smile!

      (I am waiting to smile really big for one of mine-he will know it-feel it and it will be the biggest prize for his heart also :)

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thank you Prettydarkhorse. You're always so appreciated over here. TC, MD

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      Hi MIck, nice poem for the man who is great and for his legacy too, Thanks and TC< Maita

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Hi Creativeone. I knew you would like Major Taylor. He is a forgotten hero- kind-of. Thanks for stopping by. I'll see you over at your place.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you Micky for bringing that to my attention, because I surely didn't know about Majiveone59or Taylor.I enjoyed this hub. Thank you so much for sharing it. Godspeed. creat


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