CHOSEN FEW & EAST BAY DRAGONS | AMERICA’S BLACK BIKER SET REVISITED

 

chosen few black motorcycle club

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Soak in the retro soil & oil biker shots from the Chosen Few, and East Bay Dragons motorcycle clubs.

In 1959, the Chosen Few MC officially formed out in LA on the cusp of the chaotic 60s.  As they tell it — “The 60s was a hell of a time. With the Civil Rights Movement, The Viet Nam War, Flower Power & Free Love. Sex, Drugs, and  Rock & Roll. Also the Crazy World of the Outlaw Bikers.”

If this sounds as foreign to you as it did to me, a kid who grew up in the world of white biker culture — well, consider the cultural stereotypes around bikers.

From the Chosen Few history–

“When you talk of the Outlaw Bikers you automatically think of ‘Them Crazy White Boys’ doing what a lot of folk wish they could do. Live Life Like You Want & F*ck You And Your Rules. Well Guess What? There was some crazy Black bikers who felt the same way, and didn’t give a F*ck. Thus was born the Black Outlaw Bikers!”

Black motorcycle clubs emerged throughout Cali in the 50s & 60s, and fought against racism and stereotypes of the day for their right to live the outlaw biker lifestyle — like the East Bay Dragons, Fresco Rattlers, Outlaw Vagabonds, Defiant Ones; down South in LA were the Choppers, Soul Brothers & of course, the Chosen Few.

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Chosen Few motorcycle club

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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The first White boy to come to the Chosen FewMC was “White Boy Art.” He came around 1960, followed by “White Boy Tom”. Soon we started to attract other White outlaw riders that wanted to join us. The Chosen Few became a multi-racial MC with chapters that were, all Black, all White, half White and half Mexican, half Black and half White, all Mexican, half Mexican and half Indian, a few Asians & one Iranian dude.

Our “Take None, Give None” 1%er diamond was given to us by “69 Jim” who was a 5 foot 6 inch radical Mexican. This patch has stood the test of time. The club may have started out Black, but our White brothers took us head-on into the outlaw biker world. The White clubs knew about the Chosen Few MC. They knew it was a Black club. Then they saw the White brothers flying the same patch as the Blacks — The Sh*t Hit The Fan.

The White Brothers Didn’t Give A Sh*t. They fought for there place in the outlaw biker world & flew the Chosen Few colors proudly. The White bro’s brought a true brotherhood to the club. The Chosen Few was the 1st fully integrated outlaw biker MC.  It soon became well known all around by the other clubs that — “In Black & White, We Really Had Might.”

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Chosen Few group

Chosen Few MC– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Hollywood chapter of the Chosen Few

Hollywood chapter of the Chosen Few– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few MC Chosen Few MC

Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few MC

Chosen Few MC– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few MC Chosen Few MC

Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few Motorcycle Club

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few MC Chosen Few MC

Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few Motorcycle Club funeral

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club funeral– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few Chosen Few MC

Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few Motorcycle Club funeral

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club funeral– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few Motorcycle Club

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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Chosen Few MC

Chosen Few Motorcycle Club tomfoolery– Photography by Gold Mustache Photography, Elliot M. Gold

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More East Bay Dragons love–

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East bay Dragons Motorcycle Club (check the snazzy shoes)

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club

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Read more on the East Bay Dragons here.

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38 thoughts on “CHOSEN FEW & EAST BAY DRAGONS | AMERICA’S BLACK BIKER SET REVISITED

  1. Great write up , I knew of them but not to the extent that you went in this post. It’s great to know these things occured especially when everyone including myself thought of biker gangs as a mostly white group.

    Good work.

  2. Awesome. Simply awesome.
    In a Blogosphere increasingly overrun by mediocre musings and attempts at hipster cred-building, I can always rely on you to have something cool and interesting to read on your post.

  3. I saw a few of these photos on another blog recently, but really enjoyed the write up here. I remember as a kid seeing the Vagabonds in Oakland post up on San Pablo outside their club house. Made a hell of an impression on me. I always wondered what happened to them….

  4. Thanks for this bit of historical history. I am a lover of the biker lifestyle and love learning about clubs history. I love it the article was great

    • Mike there are other blogs that cater to biker history. My blog has information past & present history of the black biker experiences. http:goldie1779.wordpress.com
      Check it out

  5. Wow! Interesting stuff. Sure gives new meaning to the name “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.” These boys might could kick Brando’s ass.

  6. Great research, didn’t know they even existed. Love the vintage jean vest’s with all the patches and all. Great look!!!

  7. IT WAS NICE SEEING THE CHOSEN FEW HISTORY ON THE INTERNET EVEN THOUGH I WROTE IT FOR OUR WEBSITE. LIKE I SAID BEFORE IT WAS A HELL OF A TIME AND THE BEST PART WAS THE BROTHERHOOD WE SHARED WITH ALL THE BLACK CLUBS. THE DRAGONS WAS OUR STRONG BROTHER CLUB IN THE BAY AREA. THE SOUL BROTHERS AND DEFIANT ONES IN SOUTHERN CAL. NO MATTER WHERE YOU RODE YOUR BIKE- NORTH, SOUTH, EAST OR WEST YOU WOULD RUN UP ON A CHOSEN FEW AND RAISE THE BLACK POWER FIST IN RECOGNITION AND PRIDE. WHEN YOU PROSPECTED FOR THE FEW YOU LEARNED THE RIGHT WAY OF HOW TO BE A TRUE BROTHER. AND IN BLACK AND WHITE WE REALLY HAD MIGHT. SAD TO SAY THAT SOME OF THAT HAS GONE BY THE WAYSIDE BUT IT WAS TRULY A WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL TIME AND I AM BLESSED TO HAVE BEEN A PART OF THAT TIME.

    PEACE AND RESPECT.

    BOSS MIKE, 1%ER.
    NOMAD FOR LIFE.
    RIDE ON.

    • I thank you so much Boss Mike for sharing your experiences. This is the stuff I live for. Hey hope your celebration was fun…hate I’ll miss it. Much love to you and I will speak with you soon.
      Goldie

  8. it is nice to get more history on brothers doing things like thay want
    but brother and sisters of today wher are you I mean the brothers that did there own work on there rides the ones that own shops I want to build bikes for my brothers and sisters truly yours but I dont know wher your at. sticup.

    • Hey hit me up on my blog and I can give you some info on what you’re asking.
      goldie1779.wordpress.com
      The blog actually speaks to the black biker & black motorcycle clubs nationwide.
      Goldie

  9. Pingback: Blog Envy….. « AFROSAXON

  10. “East Bay Dragons, La Defiant Ones & Divided Time MC’s” that was the brother clubs official with the three club patch and all don’t you remember? and a shout out to my Uncle JB Black Biker Set Original!!!

  11. What a great piece of history. Loved the black and whites pics. Grew up in Oakland in the 60s. Watched the Dragons, the Few and the Angels around town at that time. Became a Freedom Rider, became their Pres. in the 80s. Out but still ride in the area with 100,000mi. on current FXRT. Love and Respect.

  12. Is Tiger still a Dragon?? Tell him SORRY for ripping off his 54 Ford Truck when he lived off School St. Can’t remember name of St… by a Shrine or a church by 35th Ave. Stupid young punk kid,Thug shit! Didn’t realize it was his until after. My partner wanted the nice chrome rims he had on it! We didn’t know how to buy shit back then.
    I remember Tigers chopper den on Foothill & 38th Ave. Nice shop.

    Much Respect Dragons M/C

  13. Pingback: Art of Storytelling » Black Bike Culture

  14. Anybody notice the Kathleen Cleaver sitting on the back of that one guy’s bike? Wife of Eldridge Cleaver and prominent figure in the Oakland Black Panther Party. Gotta love her black driving gloves..

  15. Hi everybody jus want to give a shot out to all the real riders, love my brother bose mike i had the chance to lesson to some great story’s n get some great wisdom from my brother on his birthday that was one hell of a party with mad house n wisal playing their music,
    we jus got back from los veges for u that didn’t make it u miss chosen few turn that shit out like the old few, peace out

  16. This is a great article and very true piece of history, great job. I look at the pictures of the East Bay Dragons and recognize so many friends. I also see some out of the Chosen Few that I know. Great bunch of guys, both clubs. I started hanging out and riding on the set in the mid 70’s and still doing it. I moved and transfered my membership to the Seattle chapter, but try get back to see old friends every year. They also vist us here in the great Northwest.
    Keep the rubberside down.

    Much love,

    Gangster

  17. I have rode with alot of brothers and found consolment in the article I just finish.I want to ride again and so I will someday. Thank you

  18. This is so amazing to me, cant get enough of it! I am of the newer genaration sportbike rider and am the president of Dirty Ryders M.C. VA. This information is so vital to me and eduacating my club members and anyone thirsty for the knowledge of how we came to be, I gladly take on the responsiblity of furthering our community. Grew up around the bike scence (KY Screaming Eagles) and remember it being one of the best times of my life, now living in VA and the riders and my club are my family! It feels good to be a part of something with such history! So please all of my Senior Riders accept me and my club and give of the knowledge to continue our great tradition on! We want let you down!

  19. Wow …great photos i’ve seen most ..as a matter of fact I was there when a lot the “Few” shots were taken.. I was a member of Old Pasadena and it was the some of best years of my life…
    There was so much history and I thank ..Boss Mike and White Boy Art… for keeping so much
    of it out there… hope to see you all at the CHOSEN FEW 50TH year dance…

    GOD BLESS ….

    Sloweddie

    • Hey Sloweddie check out http://www.goldie1779blackbikers.com and you’ll see more articles specific to the cause. This is a wonderful blog and this blog gives you a plethora of topics to chose from.

      The site I listed above has articles on The Chosen Few, East Bay Dragons, Choppers MC, Cliff Vaughs, Benny Hardy, Outcast MC, and much more. I will be at the 50th Golden Annual in July. I’m pounding from Atlanta, GA to LA. Yes I am a female biker raised by Outlaws most from the Chosen Few. Much Love!

  20. I never knew there were multi racial biker gangs.I don’t think that would fly today and I find that disturbing.

    • Well now you know and funny thing is CFMC is still multi racial and still riding and flying it’s colors to this very day, so be disturbed, just keep it to your self if ever cross paths cuz the club have a long history of physically educating fools and by the way Motorcycle Clubs Are Not Gangs.

      • Thanks JJ for educating this fool first. I just left Los Angeles celebrating with the CFMC at their 50th Anniversary and it was a blast. To see White, Black, Indian, Mexican, Asian and Biracial men come together showing love and respect for each other as brothers was an awesome site to see.

        To Mr. Steve Naquin, I’m not sure what rock you just climbed from under but to further educate you there are several multiracial motorcycle clubs today. I suppose you live in the south or in an area where the color of your skin dictates what club(s) you’re allowed to join.

        That’s straight up bull….!

        I am a strong supporter of joining what ever brotherhood you find compatible to your belief. For this very reason CFMC went to war back in the day with Hells Angels, Mongols and many other clubs who tried to stop them from allowing Whites, Latinos, Indian…to join. It didn’t work so there you have it. Brotherhood is not determined by the color of your skin but by the love for another man or woman in your heart.

        By the way I am a black female rider and we weren’t accepted and respected at one time and today we are.

  21. i love these pics…iam from NYC but heard a lot of stories of these clubs out in Cali…these guys had some beautiful bikes…i wish i was old enough to have been a part of that scene back then…many of the old timers ive spoken to told me about how much fun it was…and a lot of them gave me tips on how to build a custom bike without spending a lot…these guys made a lot of their own parts back then…to me,thats what it was all about…

  22. Yeah, you’re right, I’m from the south. I didn’t mean any disrespect. I just never heard of it till now.

  23. You misunderstood what I meant when I said disturbing. I was referring to intolerance, I find todays intolerance disturbing, not multi racialism.

  24. Are the Rattlers MC still around? I remember reading about them in that book titled “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs” by Hunter S. Thompson. The time frame of the book was 1965.

    I have a vague memory of someone telling me the Rattlers might have changed their name of their MC somewhere down the line, or the club either splintered into different MC or disbanded.

    Anyone know?

    • Justin the Rattlers are still around…as a matter of fact they just had theire annual pic nic at Athen’s park sat, 15 Aug 2010 And on every Sunday they still have their party night along with three other clubs which include the Choppers, City Slickers & The Rising Sons

  25. my cousin was in a motorcycle club (60s gang) called the “rattlers” he lived in the south bay/riverside ca. area. he passed away in a cycle accident in the mid 70s. i just found a steel plaque with the logo on it, a coiled rarttler.

    all i find on the net about the rattlers is very little. are they still around, who who they etc. can you assist in any way? would like to kow more about them. his name was richard olson, not black, rode “choppers” i was very young at the time and only remember he rode with a primarilary white/hispanic crowd. i cant say they were bad but i can say they were a bit rough if memory serves.

    don tolley

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