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John Baxter Taylor Jr

(1882-1908), Track and field athlete; Olympian

Sitter in 5 portraits
Gold winner in the 1908 London Olympics, notable as the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal. Son of former slaves, he was born in Washington, D.C., before the family settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Attended public schools graduating from Central High School (1902). His sporting potential was honed at Brown Preparatory School, Philadelphia where he became the fastest high school quarter-miler in the country. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, he was the two-time champion of the ICAAAA (Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America) in the quarter mile, beating his personal best in 1907. Graduated from Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine in 1908 where he was a member of Sigma Pi Phi, the first black fraternity. Recruited by the Irish American Athletic Club in New York, of which he was the most prominent African American member.

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