Back in 2008, Harley-Davidson was celebrating 105 years of it’s product. Here is my commentary from the old MyFoxMilwaukee Blogs from way back in dealing with stereotypes and race behind the Motorcycle.

Revving up against Stereotypes

Sep 1, 2008 | 11:27 PM
Category: News

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I saw the news footage this past Sunday about more of the coverage of Harley-Davidson’s 105th Anniversary. Mainly, the block parties. But the coverage that caught my eye, was summarizing the Martin Luther King Street Party, plus the viewpoints of African-Americans and Motorcycles. Or the “Motorcycles and Race” subject. No question, I’ll give my opinion about it, and I’ll be coming in peace on this. From my personal standpoint, I don’t think, nor believe, that there is nothing wrong with African-Americans riding on a Motorcycle, or getting involved in the Motorcycle Culture. Nothing at all. I see it all the time with any brand, make, style, or design. I see the different groups riding together, and just doing their thing, sort of speak. I’ve had family members that rode on motorcycles. My father and one of my living uncles in Texas, rode Hondas, the V-45 Magna brand, and the Nighthawks. And by the way, they didn’t have Harleys back when yours truly was just in elementary school in the 80’s!

There is no secret that there are black biker groups around. I know about the emergence of women motorcycle riders, but also the emergence of African-American Women are now tapping into the cycle riding. This reminds me of an article I read in last year’s Ebony Magazine. And if you didn’t know, Queen Latifah was on the cover with a bobber Motorcycle.

Ebony Magazine 2007 Queen Latifah

The featured article had summarized about the emergence of black motorcycle groups or the culture. It was called National Bikers Roundup. Anyone heard of this? – For extension of the Roundup, click on the name. As I was summarizing the article, “Speed & steel sexy: black bikers: the rides and the history”    the story recognizes the history, objectives and overall embracement of the event, and motorcycles. Don’t let the title fool you. I also read in the article that sometimes, black motorcycle clubs go overlooked. Partially it’s segregated at times. But now they are getting recognized. I also read that the all types of motorcycles: Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, Choppers, and of course Harley-Davidson, are shown as if it was an auto show. Customized, and or pimped out. The article also states about the socialization that the black bikers get together and talk about their motorcycles, price wise and all, plus  history of black bikers. Did you know that there was a African-American Woman named Bessie Stringfield, who rode cross-country during the 1930’s, eight times? The article summed it up. Also another African-American motorcycle rider, the late Benny Hardy, created some of the “Easy Rider” Motorcycles.  He created them, but hardly never received credit for the work. So all those “Easy Rider” Motorcycles that were at the Harley-Davidson Celebrations, were an influence of Benny Hardy’s creation. This is also part of black history that I didn’t about because it was a hidden moment that was not mentioned before. Check the Youtube clip below.


I also read in last week’s Journal about the picture of the black woman model that was in the biker outfit. First I must say that who ever promoted and wrote that article and featured the model, I am impressed! The person who commented the picture described in words like poise and grace of the model. And added inspirational. Not only because of the look, but also because of African Americans in general, can now go out and learn how to ride on two wheels. Especially African-American Women. Just for review, here is the link  to the picture. And to add, I too think it’s neat! And respectable.

 

Yes, I will agree that having a motorcycle (no matter which brand) does not dictate Race, Creed, Age, Class, Gender, Religion, Straight or Gay. (Yes I said gay, and that is not a typo!) Also being part of a Motorcycle Club, or part of the Biker Culture that relates to African-Americans should not matter as well. And I hope that the Martin Luther King Neighborhood continues to have Car Shows as well as Motorcycle Shows in order to continue to draw new interests. Especially with Motorcycles in general.

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