Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and three-time Olympic medalist Edwin Moses will be featured speakers at the public unveiling of the Major Taylor memorial at the Worcester Public Library in Worcester, Massachusetts on May 21.
LeMond, who won a world championship in cycling 90 years after Major Taylor did, and Moses, who dominated the 400-meter hurdles in track and field for a decade, were each named “Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year” at the height of their athletic careers in the 1980s.
“As a fellow world-class athlete and competitor, it is only fitting for me to participate in efforts to honor a man who was truly before his time,” Moses said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Major Taylor never was able to be recognized solely for his talent during the era in which he competed.” Moses is Honorary National Chairmanship of the Major Taylor statue campaign.
The statue of the “Worcester Whirlwind,” created by sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez, is Worcester’s first monument to an African-American. The dedication ceremony will be followed by a reception with refreshments in the library’s Banx Room.
Preceding the noontime ceremony, the Seven Hills Wheelmen and the Charles River Wheelmen’s Wednesday Wheelers will lead a 30-mile bicycle ride starting and ending at the library. The ride will head north on Major Taylor Boulevard, follow scenic roads in Holden, and offer a glimpse, on the return, of George Street, the very steep hill where Major Taylor used to train. However, cyclists will not climb George Street on this ride. Registration is not required; just show up and be ready to roll by 8:45 a.m.
At 7 p.m. at the library, the Clark University History Department and Higgins School of Humanities will present a panel discussion on “Race, Sports, and Major Taylor’s Legacy.” Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson will be moderator for these scholars, historians and authors exploring diversity in sports and society, then and now:
• Andrew Ritchie, author of the 1988 biography “Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer”;
• Janette T. Greenwood, associate professor of history at Clark University, author of a case study of Worcester County’s black community in the late 1800s and of “Bittersweet Legacy,” on the emergence and interaction of the black and white middle class;
• David V. Herlihy, author of “Bicycle: The History” (2004), with research on Major Taylor’s popularity abroad;
• C. Keith Harrison, associate professor of sports business management at the University of Central Florida, and associate director of the Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport.