TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Fred Kerley returned to his hometown of Taylor on Saturday morning, wearing a shirt that read, “To all the teachers who told me I wouldn’t amount to anything.”
Kerley made this bold statement, backed by his community in Taylor as they honored him with a dedication ceremony, unveiling a mural of him. The image now standing tall for everyone to see coming from a photo during his 100-meter race in 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. That race would lead him to a world title.
Kerley said he’s grateful his city values him enough to honor him. Still, he chose to wear the shirt he did, because he said there were doubters along the way. Doubters who, he said, didn’t realize how special he was and is.
“This is for all the people that doubted me,” Kerley said. “I still get doubted in life. I guarantee everybody gets doubted in life. So, this is to show all my all haters that I’m here, and I’m going continue to be successful, with or without you.”
His honor and unveiling of the mural fall on the first weekend of Black History Month 2023. The mural is on the Ford Ground Storage Tank, right around the corner from where Kerley grew up, he told Reporter Jala Washington.
Kerley was a stand-out athlete in high school, playing football and basketball. This all while laying the groundwork for what would become his claim to fame—Track and Field.
Now, he’s one of the fastest men in the world.
In addition to his 2022 World Champion title, Kerley also won a Silver medal in the 100-meter during the 2022 Tokyo Olympic games. He’s now training for Paris 2024.
Artist Adam Davenport painted the mural. The City of Taylor said it was approached by a group who wanted to honor Kerley and his accomplishments.
From there, City Council approved the mural at its location in October 2022. The city also paid for it.
Kerley hopes he can inspire others, who don’t necessarily feel seen or supported growing up. His message to them is to keep pushing, he told Reporter Jala Washington.
His next race, kicking off his latest season is in Australia on Feb. 23. A City of Taylor official joked during the dedication ceremony, that this will be the only continent he’s yet to compete on.