Arts & Entertainment

Somers Harley Davidson Dealer Portrayed on Discovery Mini-Series

William B. Johnson was the first African American Harley-Davidson dealer in the United States.

SOMERS, N.Y. - Somers has a direct connection to “Harley and the Davidsons,” a three-episode mini-series that premieres tonight on the Discovery Channel.

William B. Johnson, the first African-American Harley Davidson dealer in the United States, opened and maintained his dealership in Somers for more than four decades. Johnson, portrayed by actor Stephen Rider, is legendary to Harley, especially enthusiasts who knew him and frequented his shop.

The Somers Historical Society is the repository of many of Johnson's as well as his dealership's artifacts, some of which were loaned to the Harley Davidson Museum in Wisconsin for an exhibit entitled “The Iron Elite.” A permanent exhibit in the historical society galleries is devoted to him, as well. The historical society is currently pursuing a donation of his objects to the Smithsonian's new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Learn more about Johnson from the historical society's digital archives:

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