Women of Black History: Bessie Stringfield

“I told him if I don’t ride, I won’t live long.  And so I never did quit.”- Bessie Stringfield. Now there’s someone who followed their dreams!  Today we will be honoring Bessie Stringfield, “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”, the first African American female to make a solo trip across America on her motorcycle.

Bessie knew what she wanted from a young age. When she was 16 and still in high school she got her first motorcycle with no prior knowledge of how any of the gears worked. That didn’t stop her from getting on the bike right away, and her natural ability was evident.

In 1930, she was only 19 when she started her first solo trip that would cover 48 states. She tossed a penny onto a map and that would be where she would ride to. Not only did she face the uncertainty of traveling alone and, but she also traveled through the prejudice of the South at that time. But that didn’t hold her back from the need to explore. Throughout her trip, she sometimes found people to take her in for the night, but other nights she would sleep at filling stations with her bike, only using her jacket for a pillow.

Bessie is an inspiration with her can-do outlook on life.  She found her passion and she never let anyone tell her she couldn’t do it.  We enjoyed coming across her story to reinforce that we can all explore a little further if we just believe in ourselves.

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