Paris McGowan Becomes The First Black Female Harley-Davidson Technician

In the midst of a pandemic, Paris McGowan of St. Louis, Missouri has made history at Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

"I'm the first African-American female technician to work on Harley-Davidson," she said.

"You barely see any Black technicians working on Harley-Davidson, but here we are."

McGown is the product of a motorcycle riding family. Many of her uncles introduced her to the world of bike riding before she was a teenager.

"My uncles all rode the sports bikes, the Kawasakis and the Ninjas and everything," she explained.

"They have a picture of me somewhere, I'm like 8 years old sitting on a motorcycle."

Her early love for motorcycles was only matched by her love for solving puzzles. McGowan said that her desire to become a technician was driven by her interest in finding solutions to difficult problems. However, more people told her to pursue other career paths than encouraged her to become a technician.

"I always liked puzzles," McGowan said.

"I was told by a lot of people to just be a nurse instead," she added. "Don't listen to anybody that shuts you down from your dream. Do not, because they don't know you. They don't know where you came from."

Having accomplished her goal of becoming a technician, the St. Louis woman is here to remind the public that she is not the only woman in the motorcycling world. McGowan is quick to point that there are more Black woman riders than most people think. She also points out that her mother has rode motorcycles for many years.

"There are a lot of Black female Harley riders, or just Black female riders in general," McGowan stated.

"We need to be shown more. My mother, who is a strong, proud Black woman, rides her own motorcycle. I have aunts and cousins who all ride together. I mean, we just did a female unity ride for Labor Day. I believe there were at least 300 or more female riders out there, and it was incredible."

McGowan is now looking to usher in more Black woman who are interested in her career path. As she puts it, there should no longer be barriers in 2020.

"It's time to move on. We shouldn't have these barriers anymore. If you can do it, I can do it. Also, maybe even better. I just found a passion, and I stuck with it. I can only just start the snowball."

Photo: Getty Images

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