Known as the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, Bessie Stringfield started
riding when she was 16. She was the first African-American woman to
travel cross-country solo, and she did it at age 19 in 1929, riding a
1928 Indian Scout. Bessie traveled through all of the lower 48 states
during the ’30s and ’40s at a time when the country was rife with
prejudice and hatred. She later rode in Europe, Brazil, and Haiti and
during World War II she served as one of the few motorcycle despatch
riders for the United States military.