The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club stands as a refreshing departure from the proliferation of intimidating, posturing, even violent MCs in the US. The predominately African-American BSMC is a nation-wide club dedicated to positive change, charity, and preservation of the memory of the original Buffalo Soldiers.
I became interested in the Buffalo Soldiers MC when I came face to with a color-wearing member in a restaurant in Delaware. My nod of greeting was met with a smile and a comment on the beauty of my granddaughter, who was in my arms.
I have often reported for AAB on the the seedy side of MC culture. On several occasions, I have come face-to-face with the MC members who fit into the 1% category. I have reported on the Mongols, Hells Angles, and the most hard-core Mexican MCs. I even reported on a club related shooting near my rural Arizona home. With that background, it was more than refreshing to interact with this BSMC member.
That sparked my interest in researching the club.
The History of the Buffalo Soldiers MC
The Buffalo Soldiers MC is a relatively young club which was started in 1991 in Harrisburg, PA. While there was no intent on the part of the founding members to create a club with chapters nationwide, that is what eventually happened. There are now BSMC entities from the original East Coast chapters across the country to the West Coast.
The selection of the Buffalo Soldiers name was a tribute to the cavalry regimens of black soldiers who helped tame the Western Frontier. Interestingly, the name Buffalo Soldiers was given to those Civil War era troops by American Indians who were intrigued by their curly black hair. The Sacramento Chapter website states that a primary club goal is to, “keep the post Civil War contributions of the 9th and 10 Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers history alive through active involvement in the community.”
Buffalo Soldiers MC Insignia
In tribute to the original Buffalo Soldiers, the MC's colors consist of an image of a uniformed Buffalo Soldier between the top and bottom club name “rockers.”
Membership and Mission
The website of the Seattle-Tacoma chapter states, “...we are not defined by our motorcycles but more by our contribution to our community.” From the beginning, one mission of the club was to promote the notion that motorcyclists can be “Good Guys.” The BSMC has an extensive list of altruistic activities that spans from children's charities to nursing home visits to purchasing food for the homeless.
Unlike many many other American motorcycle clubs, the Buffalo Soldiers are not completely Harley-centric. All motorcycle types (over 650cc) are welcome. A BSMC rally is a vision in motorcycle diversity.
Likewise, while the club is predominately African-American in its make-up, race is not an exclusive rule. Rather, the Buffalo Soldiers MC is more concerned with attracting individuals who embody their requisite traits of community service and positive role modeling.
There are some interesting practical rules for membership in most of the BSMC chapters. Members must be licensed and insured. Further, all members must have completed a recognized motorcycle safety course. It is significant to note that convicted felons are not eligible for membership.
While it was a single friendly contact that sparked my interest in the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, I left my research with a healthy respect for the mission and legacy of the MC and its members. With all of the negative press some MCs give our sport, it's uplifting to remember clubs like the BSMC exist. They live up to their motto, “One club, One Patch, One Mindset.”