Released April 30, 2019

Author Michael Kranish to discuss Major Taylor biography at Indiana State Museum

INDIANAPOLIS (April 30, 2019) – Renowned investigative reporter Michael Kranish will give a talk about Hoosier cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor and sign copies of his new book, “THE WORLD’S FASTEST MAN: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America’s First Black Sports Hero,”  during an event at the Indiana State Museum.

Taylor (1878-1932) was a Black cyclist in the late 1800s, a time when the sport was overwhelmingly dominated by white athletes. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Taylor would go on to win races in the U.S. and abroad. By 1898, Taylor had become a champion racer, setting seven world records.

“Major Taylor was not just this nation’s first black sports hero, he was a champion of equality who belongs in the pantheon of civil rights leaders,” Kranish said. “Taylor’s family donated his personal papers to the Indiana State Museum so that his story could be preserved for future generations, and these were an irreplaceable resource that was crucial in my research for this book.”

To write the biography, Kranish used many resources from the Indiana State Museum and Historic Site’s collection, including Taylor’s scrapbooks, letters, photos and other materials. The collection also helped him solve the mystery of Taylor’s father’s service in the Civil War – a topic he discusses in his book and will dive into during his talk at the museum.

“Interest in Major Taylor continues to grow, and Michael Kranish’s thoroughly researched and engaging book brings new attention to his achievements,” said Susannah Koerber, chief curator and research officer for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. “We are very fortunate to have the Major Taylor Collection here, and the collection’s curator, Kisha Tandy, is active in multiple initiatives to raise Taylor’s profile.”

The talk will take place May 14 at 7 p.m. in the Indiana State Museum’s auditorium, with a book signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public, with pre-registration preferred at this link. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event, and the book will be available to the public beginning May 7.

FOR MEDIA ONLY: To schedule an interview with author Michael Kranish or museum representatives, or to attend the lecture, please contact Hannah Kiefer, director of communication for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, at [email protected] or 317-234-8146.

For images of Major Taylor, please visit this link: 

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The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites is located in White River State Park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. It is Indiana’s museum for science, art and culture, offering a place where you can celebrate, investigate, remember, learn and take pride in Indiana’s story in the context of the broader world. Even the building is a showcase of the best Indiana has to offer in architecture, materials and sculpture. Easy and convenient parking is available in the attached underground garage.