Black Cyclists

The Race for Inclusion
Author: Robert J. Turpin
The early era of integrated cycling and the campaign to segregate the sport
Cloth – $110
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 04/09/2024
Cloth: 04/09/2024
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

Cycling emerged as a sport in the late 1870s, and from the beginning, Black Americans rode alongside and raced against white competitors. Robert J. Turpin sheds light on the contributions of Black cyclists from the sport’s early days through the cementing of Jim Crow laws during the Progressive Era. As Turpin shows, Black cyclists used the bicycle not only as a vehicle but as a means of social mobility--a mobility that attracted white ire. Prominent Black cyclists like Marshall “Major” Taylor and Kitty Knox fought for equality amidst racist and increasingly pervasive restrictions. But Turpin also tells the stories of lesser-known athletes like Melvin Dove, whose actions spoke volumes about his opposition to the color line, and Hardy Jackson, a skilled racer forced to turn to stunt riding in vaudeville after Taylor became the only non-white permitted to race professionally in the United States.

Eye-opening and long overdue, Black Cyclists uses race, technology, and mobility to explore a forgotten chapter in cycling history.

About the Author

Robert J. Turpin is an associate professor of history and the assistant director of the honors program at Lees-McRae College. He is the author of First Taste of Freedom: A Cultural History of Bicycle Marketing in the United States.