Black Mail Blog

Black History: Special Delivery!!



Bessie Stringfield: “The Negro Motorcycle Queen”

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Bessie Stringfield: “The Negro Motorcycle Queen”. She began riding at a time when “good girls” did not ride motorcycles. Click the link to learn more about this amazing woman.

Bessie “BB” Stringfield (1911 – 1993) was a trailblazer and pioneer of her time. During the 1930’s and 40’s she took 8 solo rides across the United States by motorcycle. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica but raised in Boston, MA. By the age of 5 she had become an orphan. She was raised by an Irish Woman. The woman whose name she never disclosed was very good to her. In high school, at the age of 16, BB asked for a motorcycle and was given one; even though at the time, “good girls” did not ride motorcycles. It was a 1928 Indian Scout motorcycle. She had never ridden a motorcycle before but learned quickly. BB often said that “The Man Upstairs (God)” gave her the skills to ride. BB was catholic and her faith in God was very important to her. She would go on to own 27 Harley Davidson motorcycles during her lifetime. She said, “To me, a Harley is the only motorcycle ever made.”

At the age of 19 she began to toss a penny on a map and then ride to wherever the penny landed. She would eventually ride to 48 states. She also performed on her motorcycle in carnival stunt shows. Often, because she was black she would be denied places to stay while traveling. She would stay with black families or sleep at filling stations along the way. BB married and divorced 6 times. She and her first husband lost 3 children. After that, she had no more children. Following her divorce from her 3rd husband, Arthur Stringfield, he asked her to keep his last name because he felt she would make it famous. BB also worked for the U.S. Army as a civilian motorcycle dispatch rider during World War II. She was the only woman in her unit. She carried military documents between domestic military bases. She often encountered prejudice and discrimination while on the road. In one incident, she was run off the road by a man in a pick up truck.

bessie stringflied 2.png

In the 1950’s BB became a licensed practical nurse and purchased a home in a Miami, FL suburb. During that time, she also founded the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club. On one occasion, BB disguised herself as a man and entered a flat track motorcycle race. However, she was denied the prize money when she took off her helmet and it was discovered that she was woman. Reporters referred to her as, “The Negro Motorcycle Queen” and “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami”. Later in life BB experienced medical complications from an enlarged heart. It was a condition that she had been diagnosed with years earlier. Her doctors advised her not ride but she told him that she would not live long if she was unable to ride. So she never quit riding. Se died in 1993 at age 82. BB was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.

Recent posts:

Ellen Walker Craig: 1st African American Female Mayor In The U.S.

The Colored Female’s Free Produce Society

Legal Equalizer App: Created To Educate Citizens On Their Rights When Interacting With Law Enforcement

Willa Brown: 1st African American Woman The U.S. To Receive A Commercial Pilot’s License

Celebrating Our Sisters: The Women Behind The Montgomery Bus Boycott

Hazel Johnson-Brown: 1st African American Woman Brigadier General

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Hazel Johnson-Brown
Hazel Johnson-Brown

Born in 1927, Hazel Johnson-Brown was the first African-American woman to be a Brigadier General in the United States Military in 1979. She joined the army in 1955 shortly after President Truman banned segregation in the armed services.

Hazel Johnson-Brown was one of 7 children. She was raised on her father’s farm in West Chester, PA. Inspired by a public health nurse at the age of 12, she decided that she too wanted to become a nurse one day. Her application to the West Chester School of Nursing in Pennsylvania was rejected because she was black. Undeterred, she moved to New York in 1947 and enrolled in Harlem Hospital School of Nursing. She graduated and took a job at Philadelphia Veteran’s Hospital in 1953. It was there that her co-workers encouraged her to join the Army. She initially enlisted for what she thought would be a two year tour. She excelled and quickly began to rise through the ranks.

Hazel Johnson-Brown - Receiving Rank of Brigadier General
Hazel Johnson-Brown – Receiving Rank of Brigadier General

She continued her education while in the army, eventually earning a masters degree in nursing education from Columbia University and a Ph.D in education administration from Catholic University. She retired from military service in 1983 and then pursued a second career in academia teaching at George Mason University and Georgetown University. She retired from academia in 1997. She currently lives in Washington D.C. area.

Feel free to Like/Re-post/Comment!

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: