Silver Dollar Motorcycle Club founding member reflects on club’s glory days
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
For as long Bike Week has existed in Daytona Beach, motorcycles have come to the Black community. Historically Second Avenue (now Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard) and Campbell Street (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) have attracted plenty of biker activity.
The Silver Dollar Motorcycle Club was formed in Daytona Beach on March 26, 1968 by a group of local Black bikers. The club is credited with originally organizing events for Bike Week in Daytona’s Black community.
Henry Fudge, 89, was one of the club’s founding members and its president for
most of its existence – from 1968 to 1987.
He no longer has a bike but plenty of photos and memories.
“Biker events were going on before but once we got our clubhouse, we got control of it. At the time, Black people didn’t really have a lot of places to go. We couldn’t join White clubs or go on the beachside during segregation,” Fudge told the Daytona Times.
“One year, we were sitting around we decided to start a club. I asked the guys to come up with a name. Nobody did. I came up with the Silver Dollar. Things got moving pretty quickly.”
Joe Adams, Robert Jones, William Singleton, Aaron Gadson and J.D. Green were also founding members. Member Alonzo Smith and Rosco Camp, a Bethune-Cookman employee who wasn’t a member, also played a key role in the club.
Adams, Levi Sims, Simmie Perry and Nelson Hill also served as president over the years.
Fudge added, “Throughout our history we had about 40 members but no more than 14 at once.”
The Silver Dollar Motorcycle Club bought a building at 202 Campbell Street (MLK Blvd.) for its clubhouse. The structure no longer stands.
“We first rented a place on Second Avenue next to the Richard V. Moore Center, but we grew quickly and moved to Campbell Street, Fudge noted.
In 1970, the Silver Dollar Motorcycle Club hosted 200 Black bikers in Daytona Beach with festivities along Campbell Street, Lincoln Street and Second Avenue.
“We really didn’t have problems. The cops came and told us the rules and regulations. You know how all those cops hang around today. They didn’t come up this way much back then. They let us police ourselves. We also had good rapport with the city,” Fudge remarked.
In a past interview with club members interview, J.D. Green related, “We had a whistle that we could blow if trouble occurred. We often had our men ride with the police. If we had trouble, we pretty much got it under control. We were allowed to police ourselves.” Green died in December.
The club often hosted community service activities, which included taking kids shopping for Christmas. The club also spent a lot of time on the road.
“We had a lot of fun. We rode across the country and did activities with other bikers,” Fudge shared. “We met a lot of people. We used to rent places for parties with our club and others. We once rented out the old armory. We were drawing crowds.”
Drag racing too
Drag racing was also a part of Black biker culture and Bike Week.
“We had a lot of drag races. We raced from Williamson Boulevard to Nova Road. We blocked off roads, had a person holding a flag. There were ditches on the side,” he noted.
“We had people covering the ditches in case a bike got off the road. We also raced on 11th Street. The county let us have it. We paid $500 for insurance. We couldn’t charge money, but we took donations.
He also noted that the club hosted a race in Bithlo and paid for security, insurance and an ambulance.
“We made $7,000 that year, which was a lot of money back in then,” commented Fudge.
More fond memories
He also reflected on integration and women bikers.
“It has always been a lot of Black bikers coming here. It’s really grown. Blacks and Whites hang together, now even in our part of town. There also a lot of women bikers and clubs. Back then they were only seen on the back of a bike. We had women ask to join our club, but we just didn’t listen,” responded Fudge.
Balancing activities is the key for bikers during Bike Week, he reflected.
“Back in the day, all the restaurants were on Second Avenue but there are not many now. We had a lot of stuff on Campbell Street and George’s Place was open too. Everything needed was in our neighborhood. There aren’t as much things to do on these streets today as it was back then,” Fudge remarked.
The Silver Dollar Motorcycle Club ceased operations in 1987.
Fudge said, “Well, most of us were getting older and were already settled down. Guys didn’t want that lifestyle affecting their marriages.”
About the future of Bike Week, Fudge leaves that up to younger motorcyclists.
“I don’t go to events anymore. I have former biker friends come visit sometimes. I leave the future of Bike Week to the younger generations,’’ he added.