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Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2
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Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, no. 2

(Tales of the Talented Tenth #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  51 reviews
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
Paperback, 158 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by Fulcrum Publishing
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  134 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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David Schaafsma
The second in a series by Gill about remarkable African Americans you never heard about. A story for young people with brightly colored art about a woman who was a pioneer in motorcycling in the thirties and forties. A black woman that rode all over the country in a time when there were greater dangers for black women than now, maybe. She founded he iron Horse Motorcycle club, was a civilian courier for the U.S. military. A time of Jim Crow, so a little cornily, the KKK have crow heads. It's mor ...more
This is an interesting and well illustrated read. I think this series is perfect for kids. Grade school age and up.
Marjorie Ingall
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think some of the negative reviews are from people who wish this were a book for adults. It isn't. It's a *children's book,* and it's one that I think could appeal to reluctant readers. Bessie Stringfield was the first black woman inducted into the Harley Davidson Hall of Fame -- she rode her Harley cross-country in the 1930s, under full-on Jim Crow. What a story! And the art is simple, clean-lined, bold and welcoming. (I hate saying it's cute, but it's also cute.) The graphic novel format wor ...more
What a cool lady!! I only wish this had more information, but it is for a younger audience, so I guess it's just right. :)
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was quite a biography! What an amazing woman, was Bessie Stringfield. A trailblazer in many ways and a woman who lived her fullest life until the very end. Inspirational.

While there was a bit more depth to the illustrations of this than in Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, it still didn't quite "do it for me" artistically. The story is so wonderful though that it is well worth the read.
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-american, own
I loved every little things about this graphic novel. The story deserve to be known by a larger audience, the drawing is simple and true and BB was simply a Badass.
LynnDee (The Library Lush)
This is a short graphic biography about Bessie Stringfield, badass motorcycle maven and the first African-American to ride solo across the United States. I liked the artwork and learning about Bessie, but I just wish there was more. She seems like a really fascinating woman!
Rod Brown
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
A biographical sketch that manages to provide only a modest introduction to what seems to be a bold and spirited figure in African American history. Unfortunately for the pacing, motorcycles are not even introduced until about a third of the way through the book and some of Stringfield's major accomplishments seem to get glossed over in the final twenty pages while her five marriages are basically dismissed with a sentence. Too much time is wasted in weak framing and dream sequences. Also, the a ...more
Ms. Arca
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to know SO MUCH more about her now! I was so intrigued that I couldn't put this one down..
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A remarkable woman by anyone's standard

Published in 2016 by Fulcrum Publishing.

Artist and author Joel Christian Gill is writing and illustrating a series of graphic novels that look into the lives of lesser known, exceptional African Americans. His inspiration is this quote from W.E.B. DuBois: "The Talented Tenth rises and pulls all that are worth saving up to their vantage ground." In other words, some will rise up and inspire/lead the rest. This is Gill's way of providing inspiration.

Bessie St
I read a book, a while back, that had Bessie Stringfiled in it, and that was how I found out that she was real, so it is wonderful to find this book about this Black woman motocycle rider from the 1930-1950s.

The drawings are a lot of fun, and the attitude shown in the book is great. There is a section where she is running away from the KKK, and she takes a flying leap with her motocycle, and escapes, and all she thinks is, wow, that was fun.

When asked why she didn’t do more for the Civil Rights
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wooohooo! Reading about Bessie Stringfield, the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, gave me such a rush. Told in an oral history recounting, Stringfield shares her memories of her orphaned childhood and her years criss-crossing the country, working in carnivals, serving in the military, and finally settling down. I could have used some more facts about her life, but this is a solid graphic biography for middle grades.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A 3+ star read for me. Interesting comic that provides a high level view of the fascinating life of motorcyclist Bessie Stringfield. I liked the folk art style of the illustrations and found much of her story pretty interesting. A lot of things get glossed over pretty quickly (her marriages, what she lived on when she wasn't working for the circus or the Army, etc.), especially in the second half of the book, and I really wanted more. Hopefully, this will inspire more work about her.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is No. 2 in a series I have to get my hands on more of. I loved reading about Bessie Stringfield, a black woman who rode her motorcycle all over the U.S. and the world, defying racial and gender stereotypes as she rode. She lived an incredible life, and this short graphic novel was full of information about her. Well illustrated and easy to read without being too simplistic.
Don Kathke
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read about an extraordinary lady. Amazing that a black lady survived riding a motorcycle in the country during some very harsh times. Well worth reading for those interested in either motorcycle or black history.
Great Books
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ages-12-14

This is a remarkable graphic novel and true story of the life and adventures of motorcyclist, Bessie Stringfield. Bessie, also known as “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami,” was the first African-American woman to ride solo across the U.S.A. in 1927.

reviewer 21
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A fast introduction to an amazing woman's life. I wish that there was more information but hopefully this graphic novel will lead others to read more about the astonishing Bessie Stringfield.
Pop Bop
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Get Your Motor Running

Bessie Stringfield is such an interesting and admirable character that almost any biography starts out with a high likelihood of being successful. But that said, the biographer still faces the challenge of capturing the personality and pioneering style of this fascinating woman. Joel Christian Gill wrote two entirely different sorts of graphic novels about Stringfield, and each works well in its own way.

The most recent book by Gill is a graphic book aimed at younger readers
Wayne McCoy
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
'Bessie Stringfield' by Joel Christian Gill is the second entry in his Tales of the Talented Tenth series. This is my introduction to the series and I really liked this story aimed at younger readers.

We meet Bessie Smith late in her life, and hear her story from her. She immigrated to America from Jamaica and lost her father and mother in Boston. She adopted by a kind woman amd moved to Florida. Her interest in motorcycles led her to cross the United States 8 times. She served as a civilian cour
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I almost skipped over this book, but I'm so glad I didn't! This deceptively simple looking graphic novel is so enjoyable. The author is focused on shining a spotlight on talented names in black history who might not be as well known as their white counterparts. I was really taken aback by how positive and uplifting this graphic novel feels. Gill uses illustrations and symbols to stand in for hateful slurs and racial injustice (ie: crow-like people for Jim Crow in the deep South). To me this was ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very pleasantly presented, and very worthwhile, read about a pioneer from the unsung corners of USA. Bessie's father abandoned her and her dying mother, but she was lucky to be fostered by a woman generous enough to give her a prime birthday wish – a motorbike. Never before had a black woman been so prominent on two wheels – she lived on the road, did wall of death rides and other stunts in the circus, then became a civilian bike courier for the WW2 effort – and mostly in the racist so ...more
I enjoyed reading about the life of Bessie Stringfield. The story was very basic. I actually wished it was longer. The art is also very basic, with lots of large panels. It felt like a huge swath of her life was skipped, but presumably it was a much less interesting portion than her adventurous youth.

When I described the escape from the KKK to my coworker she wrote down the name of the book to the recommend to her nephew.

The most notable aspects to me were the pop culture references. Her dream o
I wasn't sure I would like this, mostly because I have absolutely no interest in motorcycles. But I found it to be a quick, illuminating, and positive biography of a figure from American history I had never heard of before. I particularly liked the way that Stringfield's experience of the Jim Crow South was portrayed in light of the fact that she always stayed ahead of those who wanted to do her harm, that the ugliness of racial epithets was conveyed without using any swearwords (the "n-word" is ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
For, me, this was too brief! I wanted to know so much more about Bessie Stringfield. I also felt like a lot of content was glossed over. This is where I am kind of stuck with a rating. Obviously, this is aimed at younger readers, and it is not meant to be exhaustive. However, maybe it could have gone a little deeper in parts? I did like the question asked of Mrs. Stringfield towards the end of the book about her part (or lack of a part) in the Civil Rights Movement. I also respect her answer. Ov ...more
Bessie Stringfield is badass and awesome and keeps popping up in my life lately. The first black woman to be inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Stringfield was stubborn and clever and so so cool. Gill does a great job of showing her life from her early youth to her badass elderly lady-ness, framed as Stringfield telling her own life story to a reporter.

I liked this better than the Bass Reeves one, I think because it was more coherent and also because I knew what was going on with the Jim
I knew basically nothing about Bessie Stringfield before reading this, which is a damn shame. She is fascinating, and this all-ages comic really brings her story to life. I feel like she is one of those people that everyone should hear about. This was just on display at my local library, and I am so glad that I grabbed this copy to read. I also realise this is book two in the series, and I am pumped to read the book about Bass Reeves (although the library does not have a copy yet).

Definitely re
Melissa Mcavoy
Bessie Stringfield’s life was one of adventure. Possessed of an indomitable spirit she lived life on her terms. Inspiring, fun and eye-opening. Gill deftly handles the racism of the time, Bessie’s six marriages and inability to have children in an age appropriate way - keeping the focus on what Bessie did, rather than what might have hindered her. The book appears based on an interview and Bessie’s crackling vitality comes through.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bessie crisscrossed the US eight times on her motorcycle, and she was the only woman in the US Army's Civilian Motorcycle Courier Unit- and she did all of this as a black woman, in the age of Jim Crow. This comic follows her from her tragic childhood as an abandoned immigrant child, through her adventures on the road, in a circus, and into the army.
This is amazing! I loved learning about such a badass, adventurous woman, and the way her faith wove into everything she did.
Jamie Skinner
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I heard of Bessie Stringfield before, and it was great to see her story on the page, Beautifully illustrated, and while the subject matter of her being a black woman traveling alone is not sugar coated at all it is artfully handled for a younger audience.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A somewhat light treatment of a remarkable person. I appreciated the framing of the narrative in an interview setting, throwing in dashes of dream sequences and having evil crows representing Jim Crow laws and the people who enforced them.
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Joel Christian Gill™ is the chairman, CEO, president, director of development, majority and minority stock holder, manager , co-manager, regional manager, assistant to the regional manager, receptionist, senior black correspondent and janitor of Strange Fruit Comics. He is the author/illustrator of 2 forth coming books from Fulcrum Publishing Strange Fruit vol I Uncelebrated Narratives from Black ...more

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Tales of the Talented Tenth (2 books)
  • Tales of the Talented Tenth: Bass Reeves