John Baxter Taylor: First African-American Gold Medalist

August 20, 20120 Comments

John Baxter Taylor Jr. was a Veterinarian, born 11/3/83, in Washington DC, and was the first Black American to win an Olympic Gold Medal. After running the 3rd leg of the 400 meters, he won it the medal in track and field. Though he died at the tender age of 26, on 12/6/1908, only 5 months after setting a world record. Allegedly, his death was due to typhoid fever. It is important to note that  he had accomplished so much in his short lifetime.

He graduated from the School of Veterinarian Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. They say he was the most prominent African American member of the Irish American Athletic Club.

He was a member of the Sigma Pi Phi, the first black fraternity. 

See video on this site by Steve Cokely, to get the real story on Sigma Pi Phi!

In his obituary, The New York Times called him “the world’s greatest negro runner.”[1]

In a letter to Taylor’s parents, Harry Porter, fellow Irish American Athletic Club member and acting President of the 1908 U.S. Olympic Team wrote:

“It is far more as the man (than the athlete) that John Taylor made his mark. Quite unostentatious, genial, (and) kindly, the fleet-footed, far-famed athlete was beloved wherever known…As a beacon of his race, his example of achievement in athletics, scholarship and manhood will never wane, if indeed it is not destined to form with that of Booker T. Washington.” [2][3] 

Excerpted and rewritten from Wikipedia

Filed in: Black BouleBlack HistoryBlack MenBlack People in AmericaIlluminatiOpportunities for ProsperityPoliticsSteve CokelyWhite Supremacy
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