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Black History Month- John Baxter Taylor

Micah Desai, Co Editor

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Born November 3, 1882 (died December 2 1908), John Baxter Taylor Jr. was an Olympic hero. He was the first African American to win a gold medal in the Olympics.

Taylor grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to Philadelphia in high school. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1903 then went to the School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1908. While still attending the University of Pennsylvania, however, he made significant athletic contributions. As part of the track team, he helped to make Penn track and field champions. He had one of the longest strides yet known and was the best quarter-miler in the college world.

Because of his fame in college, he went on to racing in England, then the Olympics. In the Olympic Games of 1908 (which were held in England) Taylor won Gold for the 1600 meter, or 1 mile race.

John Baxter Taylor Jr. paved the way for African Americans to participate in the Olympics as well as other athletes in other sports teams. His contributions have inspired many and can continue to inspire if we commemorate him and the others who fought their way to the top.

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