The East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club of Oakland, California, started in the 1950s as a car club. In 1959, Tobie Gene organized the Dragons, a loosely knit club for black men. The group was actually one of the first of its kind. It was originally created by Gene’s big brother as a way to help keep his younger brothers off the streets and out of trouble.
As time went on, other young kids joined the club. The Dragons adopted their own uniform. They wore black, grease-stained jeans and vests with their signature patch: a green dragon against a gold background. The club’s name and hometown are in bright red stitching: “East Bay Dragons Oakland California.”
During the 1950s to late 1960s, it was rare to see a black man on a Harley motorcycle. Nevertheless, the East Bay Dragons risked their lives to ride among violence and discriminatory acts directed towards them.
Eventually, the club switched to an outlaw motorcycle club. They switched to two wheels instead of the full dressers as other motorcycle groups, and they encountered ethnic stereotypes, police misconduct, and other rival clubs. The club membership grew and Tobie Gene became the first and only president of the East Bay Dragons MC. Today, the club still exists and is riding strong.