Friday, May 23, 2008
About ten years ago, I was asked by the Major Taylor Association to serve on a committee to help find a sculptor to create a statue of Marshall "Major" Taylor. He was called the "Worcester Whirlwind" - first black World Cycling Champion in 1899.
The sculpture would be installed at the entrance to the newly renovated Worcester Public Library. Antonia Tobias Mendez was selected to create the monument. This is the first monument to an african-american in the city of Worcester.
On Wednesday, May 21, the statue was unveiled! Here is Lynne Tolman of the Major Taylor Association, whose determination helped see this project through.
The grandson and great-grandchildren of Major Taylor were there, giving heartfelt speeches. You can see them to the right of the lady in the hat (committee member Stacy DeBoise Luster) in the front row, below.
I love how the statue is low to the ground, accessible to everyone who goes to the library. Especially accessible to kids. So many monuments are set so high they are difficult to see, or to have a sense of connection with the person honored. I hope this sculpture inspires hope and appreciation to all who see it.
Antonio Tobias Mendez
Worcester Public Library
P.S. Children's book illustrator James Ransome did a book on Major Taylor a few years ago. I got to see him speak at the Worcester Library during the book's promotional tour. He is an awesome painter, wonderful speaker, and a kind person. Visit his website at: http://www.jamesransome.com/