Arts & Entertainment

Somers Harley Davidson Dealer Portrayed on Discovery Mini-Series

d223e3410d21fb2ac96c_William_B._Johnson1.jpg
William B. Johnson was the first African American Harley-Davidson dealer in the United States.
d223e3410d21fb2ac96c_William_B._Johnson1.jpg

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:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somers

This can't be happening to me

Several years ago, as part of an assignment for Linda Spear’s writers’ workshop, I began developing a short story. With a dear friend’s permission, I wrote of her long-ago troubling encounter; again, with her permission, I am sharing it with you. I wrote it in the first person, and all names, some facts and locations were changed to protect her privacy.

Hitting the road, Part I

Nothing captures the imagination of the American traveler like a good old-fashioned road trip. It reminds me of when I was a kid, packing the car for our annual family trip to Atlantic City. My primary function was to complain that there was not enough snacks and Hawaiian Punch to last the epic three-hour journey. I remember these trips as a lot more fun than they probably were, partly because I ...

A gentleman and a gentle man

My father crossed the River Styx in his 92nd year. He did not go gentle into that good night, but after diagnosing his own problem, fought to keep his promise to my mother and not leave her alone after nearly 70 years. He was a lateral thinker and lucid to his last breath.  

My parents were very private people who shared seven decades of being together, not only as husband and wife but ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...