It was 1959 in L.A. The Fifties dream was about to give way to the Sixties chaos and times were changing, hard and fast.
Inspired by the wingmen of World War 2, those who had come home with the need for flying high deep in their bones, the first motorcycle clubs in America were born. Riding choppers down a strip of pavement was about as close as you could get to being up in the air, floating free. Motorcycles also meant danger and rebellion and a firm middle finger uplifted to the Man. Biker clubs would become the first sign of the counter culture to come — the harbingers of an evolving youth revolution.
It was in 1959 —that The Chosen Few were born. The first African American motorcycle club, L.A. based The Chosen Few has their style down and their choppers gleaming.
Founding members Lionel, Lil Frank, Roger, Hawk, Slim, Shirley Bates, and Champ, prided themselves on high fashion — for both themselves, and their rides. Their insignia was originally black and white, but quickly evolved into red and white — a sea of blood strewn with white human bones in the shape of the cross. Their written Creed was nothing less than dark poetry, “The Enemy Always Arrives At The Banquet Of Death A Day In Advance, To Dance With The Devil."
The Chosen Few’s insignia, their colors and their Creed — are about as menacing as they come. The creed is an epic poem, matched with a patch that seems to be a piece of folk art, hewn in the depths of hell.
Not that the Chosen Few were hellions. They were men (and a few women), looking to define themselves outside society’s always limiting expectations.
Clad in black leather, sleeveless denim, camouflage and suede – the Chosen Few were a one of a kind crew, parading down the California freeways like a lost tribe of savages, a band of outlaws bonded by a thirst for freedom and a taste for the road.
Other African American motorcyclists around the country, would take their example and run. Clubs like the "East Bay Dragons", "Fresco Rattlers", "Outlaw Vagabonds", "Defiant Ones "Choppers" and "Soul Brothers" bonded together and set out own their own adventures.
Eventually the Chosen Few would attract members of all colors —black, white, Mexican, Native American, Asian, you name it. By the mid-1960s, at the height of the Civil Rights uproar, in a country divided and rife with hate —the Chosen Few would become the first fully integrated motorcycle club in America.
Still thriving today, the Chosen Few are an example of individuality in the face of adversity, fashion as a statement of defiance — an example of holding your head high… and always doing your own thing.
Ride on brothers!