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Harley-Davidson Commemorates Black History Month

MILWAUKEE, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In commemoration of Black History Month, spotlight exhibits that explore the evolution of African American motorcycle culture will debut Feb. 10 at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

"African Americans have influenced and helped shape motorcycle culture throughout our history. Riding culture is seen differently today because of their numerous contributions to it," said John Comissiong, director of African American outreach marketing, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. "We're number one in sales to African Americans, and not only are we very proud of our shared history, we're always looking for new stories to tell."

Harley-Davidson recognizes the contributions of African Americans who have helped create and sustain the Harley-Davidson motorcycling experience and will feature the stories of some of these highly influential trail blazers. The Museum exhibit includes bikes, stories and images of Harley-Davidson legends like William B. Johnson, the first African American Harley-Davidson dealer; Bessie Stringfield, the first known African American woman to ride solo cross-country on a Harley motorcycle in the 1930s and 1940s; and Ben Hardy, the custom builder who helped create one of the most famous motorcycles in the world, Captain America, for the movie Easy Rider.

The Museum exhibits are an opportunity for bike enthusiasts and the public to personally connect with black riding culture and for African Americans to see themselves in Harley-Davidson's history. In addition, participating Harley-Davidson dealerships around the country will have smaller African American history exhibits on display for riders and enthusiasts to enjoy.

To help gather and feature more stories of African American riders, Harley-Davidson launched Iron Elite in 2010 in the community section of its website designed to showcase African American rider stories, motorcycle customization and legends. The Iron Elite community at www.harley-davidson.com gives visitors a chance to share personal Harley-Davidson stories, show off their bike customization and learn more about key African American motorcyclists who have significantly impacted the sport of motorcycling.

In addition, Harley-Davidson supports and attends a variety of African American events to connect with current riders, such as Atlantic Beach Bike Week, Daytona Black Bike Week and the National Bikers RoundUp, where thousands of African American riders gather in the spirit of unity and in true biker form. 

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