Full Name: Bessie Stringfield
Birth Date: March 5, 1911
Death Date: February 16, 1993
Bessie Stringfield was born on March 5, 1911. Her early life has been a confusion to many. There are two accounts of her early life told, one was Stringfield was born Betsy Beatrice White, living in Edenton, North Carolina. She created a different version of her life, saying she was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1911 to a black Jamaican father and a white Dutch mother. There were even stories of her being adopted. Her birth date has been publicized as February 1911 with the birth name Betsy Leonora Ellis, though her death certificate says she was born in March 1911 in Kingston.
She received a gift like no other at the age of 16. Her mother gave her a motorcycle, a 1928 Indian Scout. From the day she received her motorcycle on, she was self-taught and proved to be a natural right away. Many people around her thought riding a motorcycle “was not lady-like and something nice girls do”. Also, she rode her bike through the Deep South during a time of racism and sexism. She did not allow any of this to stop her and proved to be fearless and living “her best life” as we now like to call it.
By not giving in to those around her Bessie, took multiple long-distance solo trips, on her bike across the world. She also owned almost thirty motorcycle bikes. She began tossing a penny over a map and wherever it would land she would travel. She traveled to forty-eight states. She even competed in competitions and did not allow racism and sexism to stop her. Later in life she began to suffer from heart issues but did not allow that to stop her. She lived a long life and passed away on February 16, 1993, at age 82.
Images of Bessie can be found here.