The Worlds Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life Of Cyclist Major Taylor, Americas First Black Sports Hero

The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life Of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero


In the tradition of The Boys in the Boat and Seabiscuit, a fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking but forgotten figure—the remarkable Major Taylor, the black man who broke racial barriers by becoming the world’s fastest and most famous bicyclist at the height of the Jim Crow era.

In the 1890s, the nation’s promise of equality had failed spectacularly. While slavery had ended with the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws still separated blacks from whites, and the excesses of the Gilded Age created an elite upper class. Amidst this world arrived Major Taylor, a young black man who wanted to compete in the nation’s most popular and mostly white man’s sport, cycling. Birdie Munger, a white cyclist who once was the world’s fastest man, declared that he could help turn the young black athlete into a champion.

Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn—especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks. In The World’s Fastest Man, years in the writing, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor’s life. Kranish shows how Taylor indeed became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day.

From a moment in time just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were king, the populace was booming with immigrants, and enormous societal changes were about to take place, The World’s Fastest Man shines a light on a dramatic moment in American history—the gateway to the twentieth century.


  • 001 World'sFastestMan Title
    Duration: 01min
  • 002 WorldsFastestMan Prologue
    Duration: 13min
  • 003 WorldsFastestMan Part1Ch1
    Duration: 31min
  • 004 WorldsFastestMan Ch2
    Duration: 24min
  • 005 WorldsFastestMan Ch3
    Duration: 17min
  • 006 WorldsFastestMan Ch4
    Duration: 39min
  • 007 WorldsFastestMan Ch5
    Duration: 16min
  • 008 WorldsFastestMan Ch6
    Duration: 23min
  • 009 WorldsFastestMan Part2Ch7
    Duration: 45min
  • 010 WorldsFastestMan Ch8
    Duration: 17min
  • 011 WorldsFastestMan Ch9
    Duration: 16min
  • 012 WorldsFastestMan Ch10
    Duration: 32min
  • 013 WorldsFastestMan Ch11
    Duration: 47min
  • 014 WorldsFastestMan Ch12
    Duration: 40min
  • 015 WorldsFastestMan Ch13
    Duration: 50min
  • 016 WorldsFastestMan Ch14
    Duration: 24min
  • 017 WorldsFastestMan Ch15
    Duration: 20min
  • 018 WorldsFastestMan Ch16
    Duration: 20min
  • 019 WorldsFastestMan Ch17
    Duration: 32min
  • 020 WorldsFastestMan Ch18
    Duration: 50min
  • 021 WorldsFastestMan Ch19
    Duration: 42min
  • 022 WorldsFastestMan Part3 Ch20
    Duration: 43min
  • 023 WorldsFastestMan Ch21
    Duration: 54min
  • 024 World'sFastestMan Credits
    Duration: 01min