GIVINGBACK
A Moral Victory
by Rahsaan on February 11th, 2014

“I pray they will carry on in spite of that dreadful monster prejudice, and with patience, courage, fortitude and perseverance achieve success for themselves” Marshall “Major” Taylor.
 
I thought it was very fitting to write my thoughts down as we’re in Black History month and perhaps this will be a catalyst for more young Black kids to get involved in this beautiful sport of cycling.
 
To say Major Taylor could read the future in the 1900’s would be unfair.  To say he manifested the day when there would be more than one African American Cyclist (athletes) competing however would be fair.
The quote above written by Major Taylor in the 1920’s really takes me back and knocks me off my feet. To think about the things he encountered and had to withstand just to compete in a predominate white sport, yet he had the wisdom to know that one day there will be some after him.
 
You see, there have been a handful of Black Cyclist come from all walks of life to compete at the highest level of racing. Back in 1913, the Tour De France saw its first Black rider participate. His name was Ali Neffati from Tunesia.  It took 100 years for another Black cyclist to participate in the Tour de France when Kevin Riza took start in 2013 for the French Team Eurocar.
 



















 
On Sunday Feb 9th, I competed in a crit located in Brea, Ca.  The overcast day soon turned perfect as the hot sun separated the clouds above and gave the field a nice sunny race. Justin, CJ and Cory Williams are all brothers from a family of hard working, loving people who are originally from Belize.

You add myself to the equation and that makes 4 Black young men (I’m not so young anymore) racing the Pro-1-2 category all together yet all on different teams. This is very significant. Major Taylor said it would be. Again, he said “I pray they will carry on in spite of that dreadful monster prejudice, and with patience, courage, fortitude and perseverance achieve success for themselves” Marshall “Major” Taylor.
 
Who would had thought 20 years ago, let alone 70 years ago that 3 Black kids whom all attended Crenshaw High school in South Central would go on to be National Champions, represent the United States of America at multiple world championships and soon sweep the podium at the Roger Millikan Memorial Crit. This isn’t a race thing; it’s a revolution thing. It’s a stepping stone to bringing the “underserved” kid into a very expensive sport.

There are some fundamental reasons why blacks are less represented in the sport of cycling and I’m sure every Black cyclist has their own interpretation of why. But what I would challenge them to do is make a difference and get more Blacks into the sport of cycling. DON’T TALK ABOUT IT, BE ABOUT IT.

In closing, yesterdays race was more than just a victory for me, it was a victory for all people who feel they are being marginalized, suppressed, victimized and not giving an equal chance. Major Taylor, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Vails are great examples of concurring defeat and destroying the notion of being held back no matter what race, gender or economic background you come from.

I look to one-day make them proud by leading and not following just as my ancestors once did.
 



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1 Comments

Bahati worley - February 11th, 2014 at 9:02 AM
Keep pushing love the reflection and the motivation !!!
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