Major Taylor Finally Gets a Major Motion Picture—But the Filmmakers Need More Funding

major taylor exhibit
Major Taylor Finally Gets a Major Motion PictureCourtesy of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

In recent years, Marshall “Major” Taylor has finally begun to receive the attention he deserves as one of the most influential riders in cycling history. The first professional African-American cyclist, Taylor began competing on the track around the turn of the 20th century. He not only won American Championships and set world records, he traveled the world racing his bike for over a decade before retired at the age of 32.

And now, he’ll hopefully have a documentary sharing his story with the world: Whirlwind. The title comes from his nickname: The Massachusetts-based racer was referred to as the Worcester Whirlwind on posters and in the press.

While Taylor has been featured in Super Bowl commercials, whiskey ads, short films, museum displays, and massive murals, this is the first time his story will be shared in a full-length documentary format. The film, Whirlwind, will not only look at his history as a racer, but also examine the larger arc of African American and American history, from Reconstruction to the Great Depression, according to the executive producer and director Cyrille Vincent.

“In a word, I was a pioneer and therefore had to blaze my own trail,” Taylor wrote in his 1928 autobiography, The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World. And now, Vincent is trying to honor Taylor’s legacy—though for the film to succeed, it still needs some serious funding.

But clearly, if there was ever a cyclist deserving of a full-length documentary, it’s Taylor.

To watch the trailer, you can check out the Worcester Whirlwind page—and consider donating to the film while you’re there. Unfortunately, the movie may never make it to the big screen without further backing. The projected budget for the film is $1.2 million, and to date, the director and crew have raised $30,786.

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