Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2 (Paperback)
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Kirkus Reviews, Best Historical Teen Book of 2016
Imagine a five-foot-two-inch-tall woman riding a Harley eight times across the continental United States. Now imagine she is black and is journeying across the country in the pre-Civil Rights era of the 1930s and ’40s. That is the amazing true story of Bessie Stringfield, the woman known today as The Motorcycle Queen of Miami and the first black woman to be inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame and the Harley Davidson Hall of Fame. Stringfield was a pioneer in motorcycling during her lifetime; she rode as a civilian courier for the US military and founded the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club in Miami, all while confronting and overcoming Jim Crow in every ride.
About the Author
Joel Christian Gill is the inaugural chair of Boston University’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Narrative and associate professor in the CFA School of Visual Arts. He is also a cartoonist and historian who speaks nationally on the importance of sharing stories. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir Fights: One Boy's Triumph Over Violence, cited as one of the best graphic novels of 2020 by the New York Times and for which he was awarded the 2021 Cartoonist Studio Prize. He wrote and illustrated Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride and the award-winning graphic novel series Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, as well as three volumes of Tales of The Talented Tenth, which tell the stories of Bass Reeves, Bessie Stringfield, and Robert Smalls. He has just completed the graphic novel of Ibram Kendi's National Book Award–winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, forthcoming in June 2023. Gill has dedicated his life to creating stories to build connections with readers through empathy, compassion, and, ultimately, humanity.
"Joel Christian Gill is a modern day graphic griot. His mastery of visual storytelling coupled with his tireless research make him one of the most important artist/scholars working today." —John Jennings, Eisner-nominated comics scholar and award-winning graphic novelist
"Bessie Stringfield's story is a call to adventure. Joel Christian Gill's gorgeous artwork depicts her dynamic heroics throughout America's lush and beautiful landscapes." —Box Brown, New York Times best-selling artist, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend
"Gill delivers the story of her diasporic roots and struggle from childhood to adulthood with artistic brilliance and compelling wit. Like Stringfield, Gill asserts himself as a messenger; he is bringing together multiple generations of readers who now have an opportunity to read and view Blackness and Black historical figures anew." —Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, author, Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime
"A great story that should be heard by all, starting with our youngest generations." —J.A. Micheline, contributor, A.V. Club and Women Write About Comics
"An incredible true story that has as much power as Bessie and the motorcycles she rode." —Kirkus Reviews starred review
"This quick-paced biography of Bessie Stringfield, the so-called 'Motorcycle Queen of Miami,' is a pocketful of cheerful, hard-fought optimism." —Publishers Weekly
"The Jamaican-born Stringfield (1911–93) led a remarkable life as [an] adventurer, stunt performer, U.S. Army courier, cross-country rider, and winning racer. Gill’s account appears in colorful, kid-friendly art." —Library Journal
"The little known story of an African American woman crossing the country eight times during the 1930s and 40s is remarkable enough. The fact that Bessie Stringfield did it—alone—on a motorcycle is downright astonishing." —Word of Mouth, NHPR
"Books for Holiday Gift Giving in 2016. A graphic-novel-style biography of Stringfield, known as the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, who roamed the country on her Harley in the pre-Civil rights '30s and '40s. For readers 12 and older." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"This is a great biography for readers 12 and up, and could be a good gift for a Motorcycle Mama of a higher age. For them, or for anyone who wants to learn about an interesting, little-known story, Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, is the book to see." —Terri Schlichenmeyer, postnewsgroup.com