Carmel cyclist organizes Major Taylor lecture event to honor late friend


Daniel Lee and Anthony Bridgeman initially connected over their shared interest in the late cycling champion Major Taylor, a Black athlete who faced constant discrimination during the nation’s Jim Crow era, and they bonded as friends over their common love of sports.

So, after Bridgeman succumbed to esophageal cancer in April at age 51, Lee decided to honor his friend by organizing a free event highlighting Taylor’s legacy and lasting impact. “Trailblazers: An Evening of Athletic Inspiration – The Anthony J. Bridgeman Lecture on Sports and Society” is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis.

“(Bridgeman and I) really got close this last month,” said Lee, a longtime Carmel resident. “I was thinking about (organizing) an event he would love, because he loved these different aspects of sports history and African American sports history. So, I tried to put together a great event.”

The lecture will feature three speakers:

  • Kenny Bigbee Jr., the 32nd Black American to become a Navy SEAL and recipient of the Unsung Hero Award from the Ford Motor Company.
  • Darnell Hillman, a retired NBA player nicknamed “Dr. Dunk” who later worked in the front office for the Indiana Pacers and has mentored youth at his basketball camps.
  • Kisha Tandy, curator of social history for the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, will speak about Taylor’s role as a father.

Bridgeman and Lee worked together with the Major Taylor Coalition to help bring a five-story mural featuring Taylor to the Barnes & Thornburg building on S. Meridian Street in 2021. Bridgeman also served as chair of the Momentum Indy cycling festival.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Bridgeman moved to Indiana to attend Butler University. During his career he worked as director of community initiatives at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and as vice president of community development banking at PNC.

Lee hopes to make the lecture in honor of Bridgeman an annual event. To reserve seats, email [email protected].