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Bessie Stringfield: Jamaican Motorcycle Queen

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Kingston-born but orphaned in Boston, Bessie Stringfield spent 60 years riding her motorcycle in the United States, beginning at a time when women weren’t supposed to be, let alone a black woman in Jim Crow times.

Bessie died in 1983 at the age of 82, having owned an impressive 27 Harley Davidson bikes and founded her own Iron Horse Motorcycle Club. She was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame posthumously.

“An Irish lady raised me,” she told an interviewer. “She gave me whatever I wanted. When I was in high school I wanted a motorcycle. And even though good girls didn’t ride motorcycles, I got one.”

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