Special Women's History Month Highlight
Bessie B. Stringfield, of Jamaican-Dutch descent, was as an early motorcycling pioneer, breaking barriers for both women and African-Americans. She received her first motorcycle, a 1928 Indian, when she was sixteen. Just three years later she embarked on her first of eight solo trips across the US, selecting her location by tossing a penny on a map and traveling to wherever it landed.
While on the road (1930-1940) Bessie funded her journey through trick riding in carnival stunt shows and participating in hill climbing events. It was her antics- such as riding while standing in the saddle of her Harley- that earned her the nickname Motorcycle Queen of Miami.
At 82, Bessie was still riding. She died in 1993. In 2000 the American Motorcyclist Association named its “Superior Achievement by a Female Motorcyclist” award for her and in 2002 she was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
*Images from the National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa, Iowa