African American Biker Gang - Freedom Riders

Monday, January 19, 2015, is the day we set aside to observe the contribution of Martin Luther King Jr. in his fight for civil rights for disadvantaged Americans. While it is important to remember his
contributions in that fight, it is also a time to remember others including veterans who have long fought to make certain that every American can enjoy the liberty guaranteed in the Constitution. There are also the contributions made by ordinary citizens over the decades that have protected or even provided for new rights for certain citizens that did not previously have them.

I have heard many people comment that this is an ‘African American’ holiday – and I assume they think that way because Martin Luther King was African-American and fighting for the rights of other African-American citizens, but MLK Day is an’ American’ holiday made possible by people like Martin Luther King who believed so strongly in what they were doing, they dedicated their life to the betterment of our society. Americans have always enjoyed some of the most precious of freedoms. We can pretty much say what we want, when we want, to whomever we want providing we do not incite violence against others or threaten others with harm. Few others around the world have such privilege. But with these wonderful rights we have as Americans, comes responsibility. We have the responsibility to protect these rights for the next generation and beyond just as those before us did FOR us. 

Over the years many different groups of citizens came together to either forge a trail to protect what
they felt was a given right, or worked collectively to protect what was already established as a right of every citizen. From segregation to the wearing of protective helmets while operating a motorcycle; 

Americans have always come together when threatened with the loss of liberty.In observing MLK Day or Civil Rights Day, let’s not forget what a remarkable place we call home. It does not matter which way your political alliances lean, or what your religious affiliation is, or even your sexual orientation or your race is – it is a day to remember what it is to be an American! Various people, including Martin Luther King have stood up over time to force the establishment to protect what was 
granted by our forefathers. Let’s always remember to strive to protect those rights and share them with the next generation to allow the American way to thrive and prosper.

I came across this article on the internet that highlighted a pioneering African american Motorcycle Club and was inspired by their history I am re-posting the article here.. 

It was written by: Messy Nessy - And we are reposting it here on our blog

Freedom Riding on a Harley: The 1950s ll-Black Biker Gang
17TH JUL, 2013
East Bay Dragons
While Rosa Parks took her historic bus ride, and as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton and the Black Panthers stood bravely for equal rights, the East Bay Dragons MC risked life and limb during days when a black man riding a Harley chopper was a revolutionary act.”
The East Bay Dragons of Oakland, California was founded in the 1950s as a car club under the leadership of Tobie Gene Levingston,  an associate of Sonny Barger, the founding member of the California Hells Angels, who’s main goal was to keep his younger brothers and friends occupied and out of trouble. In 1959, the club switched to Harleys and Choppers to become an ‘outlaw’ motorcycle club, The East Bay Dragons MC, one of the first of its kind.
On two wheels, the all-black, all-Harley, all-chopper group of motorcyclists haven’t exactly had an easy ride over the decades, encountering their fair share of violence, rivalry and racial tensions on what they call the ‘battlegrounds of urban America’.
“East Bay Dragons have secured their place as modern urban folk heroes alongside the Hell’s Angels, the Oakland Raiders, and the Black Panthers … Their legacy is an untold portion of African-American history.”
Apparently they now also enjoy watching Sons of Anarchy at their clubhouse!
I went snooping through their club’s photo albums on their website and found some pretty rad images…
East Bay Dragons
East Bay Dragons
East Bay Dragons
East Bay Dragons
Group - East Bay Dragons
East Bay Dragons
Purple Chopper - East Bay Dragons
Bags - East Bay Dragons
Jacket Back - East Bay Dragons
Empty Bikes - East Bay Dragons
Group With Trophy - East Bay Dragons
The story of the East Bay Dragons has now been told in a book co-written by founder Tobie Gene Levingston, called Soul on Bikes.
Images (c) East Bay Dragon