Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities Robert Turpin to debut new book “Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion”

Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities Robert Turpin will present his newly published book, “Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion” in Shelton Learning Commons Room 205 at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. The book, Turpin’s second full-length publication, focuses on Black competitive cyclists throughout history, the representationand lack thereofBlack cyclists receive within the sport, and the current state of racial diversity in the cycling community.

A book exploring this topic has been stewing in Turpin’s mind since he was in graduate school. Between undergraduate and graduate programs, he took a few years off school and raced bikes competitively in the interim. Once he began his graduate studies Turpin learned about Major Taylor, one of the most famous and highly decorated Black cyclists in history, from a book recommended by a professor.

“I was surprised not by the racism that he had to endure, but by the fact that I hadn’t heard of him. Especially by me, someone who was absorbed in cycling and the sport of cycling, to not have heard of him was interesting,” Turpin said. “I thought, ‘if there was Major Taylor, there were probably other Black cyclists.’ What I wanted to write about in graduate school was the other Black cyclists and Black cyclists in general.”

As he explored about Taylor’s life Turpin learned more about the ways that he and other Black cyclists were shut out of the sport and how their accomplishments have been largely erased from history, a discrepancy that he hopes his new book will begin to rectify. With “Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion” Turpin hopes to start a conversation about the other Black cyclists who have been largely ignored by cycling history and begin to think about ways to make cycling, one of the most racially segregated sports, more inclusive.

Turpin’s presentation will include a book discussion and brief reading from “Black Cyclists: The Race for Inclusion.” The event is free and open to the public.

Learn more about Turpin’s process of writing the book

By Maya JarrellApril 17, 2024