Tuesday, May 12, 2009

\\\the history of black america's motorcycle culture

i moved back to brooklyn recently - south williamsburg to be specific. i live across the street from a predominantly latino building and down the block from the bedford arms building. one day, while copping a balance vitamin water and a pack of smoking masters cigarette paper, i met a dude who goes by "pupy" in the gourmet deli on bedford. pupy has a tattoo on his arm that says "pupy" which looks a lot like the word "puppy" but he nullifies that oversight with a "fuck the world" tattoo on his neck. one time he went to church to help out with some stuff and the pastor was giving him negative vibes, which he later realized were due to his huge "fuck the world" neck tattoo. pupy was in the army too. in fact, he left the army and the sour taste it left in his mouth was the inspiration for the aforementioned neck tatt. pupy hit me off with a dub of haze on friday.

one of my roommates, a non-smoker, has a back patio connected to his room. he's a great dude but he has a patio he doesnt use while i have to go downstairs to smoke newport lights in front of the building like a loomer. he used to live across the back patio on the next block and stare at the building we now live in. next to his old abode is a building that serves as the headquarters of a black motorcycle club. the late 90s and early 2000s are to blame for the mental image i have of black motorcycle clubs. specifically, the "ruff ryders anthem" and ruff ryders in general are what i think of: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2m3fHV0GhQ. neon kawasaki's are cool, i guess, but harleys, black and white photos, and the 1950s/1960s are much, much cooler:

admittedly put on by kanye's blog who was put on here, im now heck of intrigued by the story of Tobie Gene Levingston. Tobie Gene grew up a few miles away from Sonny Barger, who formed the Hells Angels, and they rode Harleys together in the East Bay. 2 years after the angels were formed, Tobie Geneformed the Dragons which eventually went on to become the East Bay Dragons MC. the story of the Dragons is told in Soul on Bikes, a book by Tobie Gene with a foreword written by Sonny Barger.

the story of black motorcycle culture, african-american motorcycle culture in its earlier days, starts with the tuskeege airmen. post-ww2, the only thing that came close to flying airplanes for them were riding motorcycles as segregation laws made flying difficult:

here are some more photos from the article but i recommend you read it to hear the story of bessie stringfield, an african-american woman who made eight long-distance, solo rides across the u.s. in the 1930s and 1940s. orphaned at five she was raised by an irish lady who gave her the motorcycle she wanted when she was 16. by 19 she was tossing a penny onto a map and riding to wherever it landed.

if cool ass minorities on motorcycles don't really do it for you, mags just sent me a link to a website called http://www.awkwardboners.com/ on that g-chat:


Jaz said...

Trained motorcycle movers who can lend you a hand with a motorcycle tow or a motorcycle transport.

Shaygirl said...

Tobie Levinston is my uncle. One of his brother's Jake Levingston is my grandpa. Grandpa Jake is my dad's dad. My father's name is Bobby Sanders. I don't remember seeing my uncle Tobie because I was very young and I didn't see my grandpa Jake as much as I wish. My dad and grandpa Jake wasn't very close so I didn't see that side of the family as much. In fact, the only uncle I do remember is uncle Vick (Levinston) one of Tobies brother's. It's funny but I never knew that one of my grandfather's brothers had a motorcycle club till my brother told me about 4 years ago. He got the book and was telling me about it. I was totally shocked!. I was like cool;) My grandfather has a big family!!. In this book, you will see a picture of all the brother's all together in a group including my grandpa Jake who was so much younger in that photo..lol. His name should be listed on that page. Though I never got to see my uncle Tobie much and I don't remember too much because I was so young, I'm very proud that I have an uncle who is the founder of the East Bay Dragons motorcycle club!! He is still alive, my dad told me. I don't know exactly where he is now because I had moved out of California for a while but I'm back in the bay. My brother got to talk with him. I will try to catch up with him and reunite with him while he is still here. He hasn't seen me in years;) My grandpa Jake (Tobie's brother) passed away about 4 years ago. Thank you for appreciating my uncle's book!! I have such an interesting family..lol. My grandmother met my grandpa Jake in Louisana from the same place Talluha (I hope I spelled right..opps) I never been there before!! Anyway, thanks again for appreciating my uncle. Take care!!
Sharine Sanders ( niece of Tobie Levingston)

Shaygirl said...

So sorry for the mispelling..lol I meant Levingston. I forgot to mention that my dad's last name is my grandmother's maiden name which is Sanders. That's why my dad doesn't have his dad's last name Levingston.

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