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The Video You Must See: The First Black Man to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

Brilliant, capable and courageous are words that easily come to mind when referencing John B. Taylor, the first African American to ever win a gold medal in the Olympics. As the son of freed slaves, Taylor didn’t let anything hold him back. He wasn’t just a man who could run like the wind, he was an intellectual and a hard worker.

Taylor ran for The University of Pennsylvania, earning himself an opportunity to be in the highly prestigious Wharton School of Business.  He won a gold medal in the 400 medley relay, making himself the first black man to earn Olympic glory.  That feat is highly impressive in 2012, but it was darn near impossible in 1908.

Watch the video below, created by Craig T. Williams.  Williams is working to preserve the legacy of Taylor, who is one of the greatest and most courageous Americans of all-time.  The video is below:

To learn more about this amazing American, please check out this book by Craig T. Williams. 

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31 Responses to The Video You Must See: The First Black Man to Win an Olympic Gold Medal

  1. Johanna Daranda Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 9:06 am

    This is an excellent piece. There are numerous pioneers of our race that are gone and forgotten. This was very inspiring and left me teary eyed.

  2. Deewright Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for the info, this is good stuff!! YBW is good!

  3. P.C. Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

    This is wonderful! I had no idea!!!

  4. W Lyons Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

    What a great story that deserves to be told.

  5. Thomasena Martin-Johnson Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Follow your dreams.

  6. Sandra Dee Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

    White people will not mention anything that does not makes then look good or prove that Blacks are not inferior.

  7. Barbara Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for sharing Taylor’s story with us. I didn’t know about him. I did know about Jesse Owens and others.

  8. Ethel Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks for your continued efforts to share and teach historical truths which may have been detained but cannot be denied. Truth always prevails.

  9. Yvonne T Allison Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Very informative information – one that should be definitely share with as many young African-Americans as possible.

  10. Damajah Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Too bad Hitler didn’t study history. He should have seen this coming.

  11. Allison Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Great thanks for sharing an Olympic History on the Courage and Valor of this Great American Man. He is worth knowing and remembering for he was a Son and a Friend. You can tell he was well liked and loved, just wish our history books would share the stories of All Great African Americans and not just a chosen few.

  12. Robert A. Bellinger Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    This a fantastic documentary that presents an important piece of history. While the first black man to win a gold medal is worthy of our focus,we have to remeber that gold is not the only medal given in the Olympics.To paraphrase what Mack Robinson (brother of Jackie Robinson) said about his silver medal in the mens 200 meter race at the1936 Berlin Games – “to be included in 64 competitors who gJoseph Stadler. o to the Olympics, then to be one of the 8 finalists, and then to be second in the world, that’s fantastic.”
    Having said that I just want to also remember George Poage and Joseph Stadler black men who competed in the Third Olympiad, held in St. Louis in 1904. In those games, George Poage who ran track at the University of Wisconsin became the first Black man to win an Olympic medal when he won bronze medals in the 200 meter and 400 meter hurdles. Joseph Stadler won a silver medal in the standing high jump and a bronze medal in the standing hop, step and jump. Even though they did not earn gold medals their accomplishments are just as significant.

  13. Robert A. Bellinger Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    This a fantastic documentary that presents an important piece of history. While the first black man to win a gold medal is worthy of our focus,we have to remeber that gold is not the only medal given in the Olympics.To paraphrase what Mack Robinson (brother of Jackie Robinson) said about his silver medal in the mens 200 meter race at the1936 Berlin Games – “to be included in 64 competitors who go to the Olympics, then to be one of the 8 finalists, and then to be second in the world, that’s fantastic.”
    Having said that I just want to also remember George Poage and Joseph Stadler black men who competed in the Third Olympiad, held in St. Louis in 1904. In those games, George Poage who ran track at the University of Wisconsin became the first Black man to win an Olympic medal when he won bronze medals in the 200 meter and 400 meter hurdles. Joseph Stadler won a silver medal in the standing high jump and a bronze medal in the standing hop, step and jump. Even though they did not earn gold medals their accomplishments are just as significant.

  14. Darrell EAster Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you for awakening all us to an overlooked, unapreciated American hero.Knowing that he toiled against unimaginable
    odds in the early 20 th century elevates his success to
    an even higher plateau.

  15. grace Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you! I had never heard of Taylor – makes me proud!

  16. josephine Slaton Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing what is indeed a great American/ African American story that must be told over and over again to our children, to the world. This heroic athlete should never again be forgotten. We are blessed to have known of his existence, the
    work he accomplished.

  17. Renee Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Great video. I didn’t even know about him. A true American hero and exceptional athelete.

  18. Jah Larry Dread Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Great story…there is another Taylor. Knowing our history and contribution is very powerful.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Taylor

    Jah Larry Dread

  19. Scott W Trent Jr Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story of this man and the other two mentioned in the comments. As a white american with a good deal of history under my belt, I did NOT know this. This makes me proud to know that there were men achieving this status early on….. WE all need to know this history and their stories, as I only knew act. Jesse Owens!

  20. WW Reply

    July 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    WOW….what a great story….glad I watched
    the video….thanks for sharing.

  21. larrivenia lott Reply

    July 29, 2012 at 5:34 am

    thank you for keeping us informed on news we would not get anywhere else

  22. vivienne Reply

    July 29, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Great story, I had not heard of Mr Taylor,what a great inspirational message. Thank you for bringing his story to the world.

  23. Bernlaw Reply

    July 29, 2012 at 9:22 am

    John B. Taylors’ name should be in all Olympic history books.He should be celebrated in all schools.It surprises me that he is not celebrated at the university of pennsylvania.I commend the author of his video.John B. performed one of the world’s greatest feats,but he is not the 1st Black Olympian to win an event.There were Blacks in the 1st Olympics 776bc .Lets’ stop historic racism!.

  24. Susan Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 3:24 am

    He was the first AFRICAN AMERICAN to win a gold medal, but not the first Black man. That honor goes to Constantin Henriquez de Zubiera, a Hatian born athlete competing for France, who was a member of the 1900 gold medal winning French rugby team. He also won a silver medal in the tug of war competition.

    Taylor was the first American Black man, but not the first Black man to win gold at the Olympics.

  25. P_dubVA Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

    This is black history that has been excluded from the history books. Thank you.

  26. Joseph Gourgue Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Hey Doc, it’s nice to remind some about the exploit of Mr. John Baxter Taylor beign the first African-American to have won the GOLD MEDAL, however, we must not FORGET that there were two other African Americans had earned medals at the 1904 Olympic games in St. Louis–Joe Stadler (from Cleveland) had won a silver medal in the standing high jump and George Poage (from the University of Wisconsin) had won two bronze medals for the 200-meter and 400-meter hurdles. But Taylor, in 1908, became the first African American to win Olympic gold.

  27. Lou E WALKER Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    WOW!!!!!once again History being stifled for us BLACK FOLK!!yet the bible states we have to love them any way pray pray pray!!!!

  28. SON Reply

    July 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Good to read something positive. Big up to Bro. Bellinger for the continued facts. 1

  29. margaret Reply

    July 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Lack of Knowledge…who would of thought the “latter to be greater”. I love track and field. I love the Olympics. I’ve known the stories of Jesse Owens,Wilma Rudolph going forwar d.Thank you for these unknown heroes.

  30. Laura Marchand Reply

    August 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Thank you for that story. It is strange that you put it on today. It is my late husbands birthday,and he passed on the 23rd of Jan. When I saw Taylor’s number on his shirt that it was #23,I said to myself two great men.

  31. Rev. George Brooks Reply

    August 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    John Taylor won a gold medal with A RELAY TEAM. But the
    first black to win an individual event Olympic gold medal
    was Dehart Hubbard in 1924 in Paris, France. He won the
    long jump. And he was related to J. Kenneth Blackwell of
    the present day Republican Party in Ohio. — Rev. George
    Brooks

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