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Harley-Davidson celebrates African-American bikers in anniversary documentary
(July 24, 2013) F. Gary Gray loves motorcycling almost as much as he loves making movies. Gray combines his two passions in a documentary that follows an epic journey on his custom Harley-Davidson. In the video, which debuted on www.h-d.com/ironelite, Gray, the director of such box-office hits as "Friday" and "Set It Off," describes riding his Harley-Davidson as a form of meditation. "When I'm not working, I'm riding." said Gray.
Joining Gray on the 500 mile ride, which he described as "his best ever" were three of his Harley riding friends, including actor and "Cosby Show" alum Malcolm-Jamal Warner. During the journey from Atlanta, GA to one of the largest annual gatherings of black bikers in Daytona Beach, Fla., Gray wore the Harley-Davidson Freedom Jacket.
As part the company's 110th Anniversary Celebration -- Harley-Davidson has enlisted riders from around the world to take a single leather jacket - the Freedom Jacket - on an adventure and to share their stories online. The Freedom Jacket will pass from rider to rider as it travels the globe. It will return to Milwaukee for a final celebration and display at the Harley-Davidson Museum Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2013.
"The Freedom Jacket symbolizes the brotherhood between riders." said Gray. "Adding a patch honoring the Iron Elite represents Harley's long history with African American riders; whether you're in a group or a single rider, we all have this unspoken bond."
Gray joins a long line of African Americans who have contributed to the 110 year history of Harley-Davidson. Since the company's founding in 1903, African Americans have had a defining impact on Harley-Davidson's brand and motorcycling culture. It is a history filled with visionaries, artists, leaders and revolutionaries.
Figures like William B. Johnson, the first African American licensed by the American Motorcycle Association to race, as well as the first African American to own a Harley-Davidson dealership; Bessie Stringfield, the first black woman to ride solo cross country; and Benny Hardy, the custom bike builder who created the Captain America motorcycle for the movie "Easy Rider."
For a behind the scenes look at Gray's inspirational journey with the Freedom Jacket, and to find more feature stories about African American Harley legends and the brotherhood of black bikers, visit: www. h-d.com/ironelite.
The Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary is a year-long, global celebration connecting millions of Harley-Davidson fans across the globe united by a common bond and shared passion for freedom, self-expression and epic adventure. Included in the official 110th Anniversary calendar are 12 different 110th Anniversary experiences that Harley-Davidson will bring to existing motorcycle events in global markets throughout September 2013. The events span 11 countries on six continents and will be capped by two main celebration events in Rome, Italy, in June 2013 and Milwaukee during Labor Day weekend.
Harley-Davidson fans are invited to learn more about the 110th Anniversary and join the celebration online where they can share videos, images and experiences on Facebook, Twitter with the hashtag #HD110, and at www.h-d.com/110.
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