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New Downtown Indianapolis mural honors Major Taylor

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Posted at 1:07 PM, Sep 12, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis native and the first Black American to win a world championship in any sport is now honored with a mural in Downtown Indianapolis.

Marshall “Major” Taylor won the one mile sprint cycling world title in 1899.

"My goal for this project is to depict Major Taylor as the ambitious young man that dared to enter a global sport during a time when the ugliness of racism and bigotry was prominent. To depict the hardened, stoic, courageous and unwavering pioneer and of course the once in a generation athlete that went on to break records, etch his name into history, and inspire future generations of athletes and cycling enthusiasts," Chicago artist Shawn Michael Warren, who created the mural, said.

The mural is on the east side of the Barnes & Thornburg building, located at 11 S. Meridian Street.

Taylor's great granddaughter traveled from Hawaii to attend and speak at the dedication ceremony Thursday.

"I think Major would have been absolutely delighted, I think he would have been proud and happy and slightly humbled and full of hope for the future and above all I think Major would have been so honored to be remembered in such a significant manner in the city of his birth," Karen Brown Donovan said.

Taylor is the subject of the first mural in the Bicentennial Legends mural series through the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

The public is invited to nominate individuals for future murals who embody the Bicentennial Commission’s guiding principles: History, Civic Pride, Innovation and Legacy.