Bessie Stringfield was a legendary force during the ripening of American motorcycle culture. As a woman of color participating in a taboo lifestyle, she faced immeasurable prejudice. Yet she lived by a simple credo: “What I did was fun, and I loved it.”
In 1930, at the age of 19, Stringfield became the first African-American woman to ride across the United States solo. Before the interstate highway system, road travel was haphazard at best; pavement was scarce, and dirt roads were carved with danger, if they existed at all. As a skilled rider, Stringfield navigated these challenges. But discrimination and Jim Crow laws posed even more treacherous hurdles.
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