Above: Formed in 1866, the U.S. Army’s 10th Cavalry, along with several other all-black cavalry and infantry regiments, became known as the
Buffalo Soldiers, so named by the American Indians they fought. Top and opposite: Now members of the Wilmington Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle
Club, like Radue “Zulu” Shakur (top) and Freddie “Fred Foxx” Graham and Priscilla “Queen Suga” Kollock (opposite), teach the soldiers’ history
through community outreach.
HE motorcycle club is cruising down I-40 somewhere
between Wilmington and Raleigh, out for a weekend
ride, enjoying the freedom of the open road.
The bikers come upon a slower car. Tail rider and
club vice president Radue “Zulu” Shakur radios ahead to lead rider
and club president Freddie “Fred Foxx” Graham. The group is well
ahead of any cars in the passing lane, he reports. Graham acknowl-edges
and moves over. The nearly two dozen club members follow.
Shakur again radios ahead when he has cleared the car. Graham
moves back over, followed by the other riders.
The movements are coordinated, precise, economical, and even
friendly. The club members are quick with a nod or a wave to fellow
“It comes from years of trial and error,” Shakur says. “The lead
bike, which is the president, and the rear bike, which is generally
myself, we have communication over CB radios. If we’re transition-ing
from one lane to another, we’re communicating. I let him know
the lane is secure. All the other bikes won’t move over until the pres-ident
starts moving over. We do it in a military precision fashion.”
The military precision — which comes naturally for many of the
riders, who are former servicemen and women — serves a couple of
purposes. It adds a measure of safety for the two-wheeled motorists
on dangerous highways mostly populated by four-wheeled cars and
huge semis. Perhaps more importantly, it leaves a positive impres-sion
of the patch on the back of the vest worn by each rider.
“People are always watching us,” Graham says. “If you have that
vest on, people are always watching you.”