Black Motorcycle Riders
I remember older members of the Brothers of the Sun (BOTS) LA Motorcycle Club telling me how difficult it was to go down and buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle during the ‘70s. Most of our brothers rolled Kawasakis, Hondas and other brand motorcycles, due to the constant racism that our black motorcycle riders faced in the 1970s in Southern California when the BOTS club began forming.
In the 1920s and 30s, there were African-Americans, including one woman, who made history for the community. William B. Johnson, born in Maryland in 1890, was the first African-American to join the American Motorcycles Association (AMA), and he was issued a license to race. He opened the first black-owned Harley-Davidson dealership as well.
In 2024, all people of color can enjoy riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, thanks to the dedication and resilience of people like Wendell B. Johnson and black motorcycle clubs. throughout the United States that have defied the odds and kept their clubs together celebrating every day the joy of riding, brotherhood and community service.