by Tobie Levingston
Published by Motorbooks April 2004
When Sonny Barger formed the Oakland Hell’s Angels in 1957, a few miles up East 14th Street in East Oakland a young black bike rider from Louisiana named Tobie Gene Levingston was soon to follow in Barger’s footsteps. The two knew and respected each other and had ridden their Harleys together in the same East Bay neighborhood.
In 1959, Tobie Gene organized the Dragons, a loosely knit, all-black men’s club, one of the first of its kind. The Dragons’ earliest incarnation began as an all-black car club. It originally stemmed from Tobie Gene’s big brother role to keep his younger brothers and friends occupied and out of trouble. The Dragons became ten strong, including members like MacArthur, Hooker, Tobie’s brothers Joe Louis and Jonas, Baby Joe, Sam and Cousin Rabbit. Tobie Gene became the East Bay Dragons’ MCs first and only president, still reigning and riding after forty-four years.
Tobie Gene Levingston was born in Tallulah, Louisiana. He founded the East Bay Dragons car club in Oakland, California, which eventually became the East Bay Dragons MC, one of the nation’s leading all-black, Harley-only, motorcycle clubs. Tobie Gene has been the sole president of the East Bay Dragons MC since the club’s formation in 1959.
“Soul on Bikes: The East Bay Dragons MC and the Black Biker Set is a fascinating biography of a fascinating black man and an equally fascinating black movement.” -Frost Illustrated
"Here's a slice of underground American and African-American history you're unlikely to read in any history book. Tobie Gene Levingston and his colorful cast of misfits and comrades are an all-black, all-Harley, all-chopper group of motorcyclists who have found more than their fair share of violence and redemption on the battlegrounds of urban America.Soul on Bikes recounts the club's adventures with humor, attitude, and most important, soul." Motorbooks