Legends come to life

Motorcycles, yes. But Harley-Davidson is so much more. See how far our world reaches.


The Journey of the Iron Elite

Originally on display February – December, 2011

African American riders have a long and proud heritage, and continue to make important contributions to the sport and culture of motorcycling. Their experience as bike enthusiasts often mirrored evolving race relations in American society, with segregation and other forms of discrimination keeping many of their stories on the periphery of recorded history.

African American racers, cross-country endurance travelers, bike builders, and even motorcycle dealers built a riding community that dates back to the first half of the 20th century. Black servicemen returning from WWII embraced the motorcycle, and gathered into loose-knit riding groups. These quickly evolved into clubs, such as the East Bay Dragons, LA Defiant Ones, State Burners, and Born Losers MC, to name just a few. Today, both African American clubs and individuals carry on the legacy of the past.

In 2010, Harley-Davidson launched an outreach initiative aimed at recognizing the contributions of African Americans in the motorcycle community. To find these Iron Elites, the company asked riders to submit their stories, sharing why they ride, what they ride, and who they ride for.

Among the many inspirational stories submitted, three emerged as emblematic of the African American riding experience. Leon Brittain, Andre “Gunz” Green, and Sandra “Goldie” Sowers were selected by Harley-Davidson to share personal accounts of how motorcycling has made a positive impact in their lives.

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May-September - Daily: 9am-6pm
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October-April - Daily: 10am-6pm
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Harley-Davidson Museum
400 W Canal Street
Milwaukee, WI 53201
1-877-HD-MUSEUM or 414-287-2789

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