Photography: Black MCs
It’s hard to image that Black Motorcycle Clubs even existed in the 50’s and 60’s. Most sprung up in answer to the growing civil rights movement, and like most gangs, relied on safety in numbers. The LA MCs The Chosen Few and The East Bay Dragons were probably the East Coast’s most infamous. The Dragons formed in ’59 – about the same time as the Hells Angels, and were strictly an all black club. The Chosen Few were a bit more lenient – forming multi-racial chapters along the coast – as long as you were an outlaw you were welcome in The Chosen Few. Find out more in Soul on Bikes by Dragons founder Tobie Gene Livingston
The East Bay Dragons
The Chosen Few
In the 1930s and 1940s Bessie made eight long-distance, solo rides across the United States. Speaking to a reporter, she dismissed the idea that “nice girls didn’t ride motorcycles in those days.” She was also seemingly fearless about riding through the Deep South when racial prejudice was a tangible threat.
In 2002, she was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Bessie, or BB as she was known among friends, described over 60 years of motorcycling: “I was somethin’! What I did was fun and I loved it.”