Breakdown of the Chicago Gangs..
From the Chicago hoods of the South Side to the areas where Chicago gangs roam on the West Side to the heart of the Chicago ghetto areas of the North and East sides, this article breaks down the full background and history while giving a tour of every urban section of the city.
Chicago Hoods: South Side
What began around 68th and Green in Englewood, during the 1960s, would eventually spread across the country as the Gangster Disciples have become the nation’s largest gang after the Bloods and the Crips.
Despite the negativity associate with Chicago gangs, Larry Hoover and other leaders were able to bring together hundreds of young people throughout the South Side under one structure were many could somewhat benefit, something that this era and generation is missing.
Before the rise of Chicago gangs there was only a small black presence on the city’s South Side. Originally, the South Side was a place for the city’s white population, but after urban renewal of the city’s historic black community, Bronzeville, with the placement of housing projects and the Dan Ryan (Interstate 90 & Interstate 94) thousands of residents were displaced into the South Side during the 1960s and 1970s.
Chicago South Side: Englewood
Englewood was once a famous community as 63rd Street was the once heart of the neighborhood, expanding from Ashland to Halsted, and consisted of numerous businesses and shopping districts, while there was only a small African-American presence nearby.
As many white families were beginning to leave the area and the historic black community of Bronzeville was reduced in size, due to the construction of the highway and housing projects, many black families were forced to move into Englewood.
The black community would slowly expand from Halsted to Damen, between 59th Street and 71st Street, eventually making the entire neighborhood of Englewood a predominantly black community by the 1970s.
Some might say that redlining, the process of forcing a group of people into a certain area and denying them proper services to help the community grow and prosper, helped the decline of the Englewood neighborhood.
The streets within the Chicago ghetto of the South Side date back to the days of S. Green Street around Marquette and Halsted, the beginning of the Gangster Disciples that would later join one of Chicago’s largest black gangs, the Black Disciples, and form the Black Gangster Disciples, in which the alliance did not last.
Gangster Disciples of No Luv City, 069, and 073 or Black Disciples of Lowe Life, Tay Town, and Lamron are just a small example of how active the Englewood neighborhood has became over the years.
Chicago South Side: New City / Back of the Yards
New City or Back of the Yards was one of the first Mexican neighborhoods in the city, especially on the city’s South Side as many found work in the stockyards, given the name of the neighborhood “Back Of The Yards”.
Unfortunately, the Stockyards eventually were close and the once mix neighborhood filled with different ethnic groups changed as the area became predominantly of Mexican descent, with African-Americans living between 51st and 55th (Garfield).
With a mix of different racial groups, some of the first Chicago gangs in the area was an all-white gang known as the Gaylords, who left the community during white flight, and a Hispanic gang called the Renegade Saints.
New City would later become known for areas of both black and Latino gangs like the Renegade Saints of Halo City, Gangster Disciples of Damenville, centered around Damen Avenue, and the largest Black P. Stone neighborhood in the city, Moe Town located around Sherman Park.
Chicago South Side: 95th Street
The small stretch of 95th Street was once home to a number of gang affiliations like the Cobra Stones, Disciples, Racketeers, and the Imphs before the Black P. Stones acquired the majority of real estate.
Originally, the only reputable area was Princeton Park, an area home to the Lowden housing projects, but years later neighborhoods like Nateville or Rack Ctiy would also come into focus for neighborhoods along 95th Street.
Before Chicago gangs, a small number of black families who relocated from southern communities in states like Mississippi or Tennessee found homes near the intersection of 95th and Halsted, as early as the 1940s and 1950s.
Chicago South Side: Auburn Gresham
As blacks and Latinos moved into the New City or Back of the Yards and Englewood neighborhoods, white families relocated and moved into Auburn Gresham, a large community bounded by 76th and 87th from Damen Avenue to Halsted.
As the black community grew and expanded further south, Auburn Gresham later became a large neighborhood with a majority African-American population as white flight led to white families to completely leave the South Side.
Auburn Gresham has been for generations a neighborhood where people either are affiliated with Gangster Disciples, especially around 79th with G Ville and Killa Ward, or Black P. Stones who are mostly around 83rd and 87th streets, other than the Terror Dome of 79th and Damen.
Chicago South Side: Roseland / Wild 100s
Given the name the “Wild Hundreds” for the amount of activity, this section of the Chicago ghetto has been a melting pot of gangs, mostly Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples, but also Mickey Cobras, Four Corner Hustlers, Black P Stones and Vice Lords.
With neighborhoods like Rag Town or Trigga Town or RudeVille or GoonTown or the Snake Pit, the reputation and the name of the Wild Hundreds fits the area’s persona as there are only a handful of blocks that are not active.
Long before any Chicago gangs arrived into the Hundreds, which is mainly the Roseland neighborhood, the area started as a community that prohibited blacks from living or buying property anywhere in the neighborhood, other than a small section of Roseland that was designated for black families.
Not until around the 1970s, in some cases the 1960s, did the community begin to become a predominantly black neighborhood, especially as parts of Roseland were once known for being a famous shopping district for the local residents.
Chicago Hoods: East Side
From State to Lake, the saying that refers to the East Side of Chicago, meaning the boundaries of the East Side expand from State Street to Lake Michigan. There are numerous of Chicago gangs on the East Side, like the Gangster Disciples, Four Corner Hustlers and more, but the most notarized is the Almighty Black P. Stone Nation.
On the corner of 67th and Blackstone the Black P. Stone Nation began as the Blackstone Rangers in the Woodlawn neighborhood as Jeff Fort and Eugene Bull Hairston spearheaded a movement that would expand throughout the Low Ends, East Side, and South Side.
The growth also led to spinoff gangs, like the Titanic Stones, Maniac Stone, Mickey Cobras, and others. The Mickey Cobras, a separate gang from the ABPSN who had a large presence in the housing projects of the Low Ends, were followers of Mickey Cogwell, a former leader of the ABPSN that was killed due to inner conflicts.
Today’s Black P. Stones are a shell of the original Black P. Stone Nation as this era has little similarities to the days between the 1970s and the 1990s. Despite the difference in generations, the Black P. Stone Nation still have a large presence on the East Side with areas like Terror Town being the most known.
Outside of the Black P. Stones, the Chicago gangs of the Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples, who started out as the Devil Disciples around 53rd and Woodlawn, hold much of a presence on the city’s East Side, especially around King Drive, Cottage Grove, and in South Shore.
Originally, the East Side began in the Washington Park community and expanded as far as 67th Street by the 1960s. Continuing the growth, the East Side’s urban population ventured further south into areas such as South Shore and Chatham, during the 1970s and 1980s, and eventually made its way as far as Jeffery Manor along 95th Street by the 1990s.
Chicago Hoods: Latino Community
With prominent Latino Chicago gangs of the Latin Kings, Satan Disciples, Maniac Latin Disciples, Spanish Cobras, Gangster TwoSix, and numerous others, the Hispanic community of both Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have many similarities to the city’s black population.
The Mexican community began in the Pilsen and Back of the Yards neighborhoods, after relocating into Chicago as early as the 1910s. Urban renewal within Pilsen and the closing of the Stockyards in the Back of the Yards community led the Latino population to expand into the Little Village neighborhood, around 26th, and Cicero by the 1960s and 1970s and continuing into areas like Gage Park by the 1980s.
Similar to other Chicago gangs, Mexican gangs were started due to the fight against being attacked by other racist groups as Mexicans were moving into European neighborhoods. In Pilsen, there were gangs like the Ambrose, the Bishops, the Satan Disciples, and the La Raza. While in Little Village, the first and largest gang was the 2-6 who gained members due to the dislike for the Latin Kings that came from the Humboldt Park area.
During the 1950s Puerto Ricans began to arrive into the city of Chicago. Most resided in the Humboldt Park area with Division Street being the heart of the community. As more and more Puerto Ricans arrived the population expanded to over 100,000 by the 1980s into neighborhoods like Logan Square, Belmont Cragin, and Hermosa.
The population increase caused problems during the 60s with other races of the neighborhoods. As a form of protection from the white gangs, Puerto Ricans gangs were created due to the harassment they were receiving. This eventually created the Latin Kings around Spaulding, the Maniac Latin Disciples around N. Rockwell, the Insane Unknowns around Iowa and Springfield, all together with the Spanish Cobras, the Latin Pachucos, and the Insane Albany Orchestra and the Imperial Gangsters in the Logan Square area.
Chicago Hoods: West Side
From the Vice Lords to Gangster Disciples to the Four Corner Hustlers to the New Breeds and the Black Souls, the West Side might not has received the recognition from the media as the South Side, but with the streets and the Chicago gangs there is little difference between either side.
With the destruction to Chicago’s original black community, the Low Ends’ Bronzeville, the black population relocated into sections of the West Side, even though there was already an existing black community on the West Side.
Starting with neighborhoods along Madison then into further expanding into North Lawndale that was later followed by the movement into the Austin neighborhood, the West Side became one of Chicago’s largest areas to house the city’s black population.
The Chicago gangs of the West Side date back to the 1950s and 1960s. Gangs were originally created for the needed of protection from other races as the newly arrived African Americans were constantly abused and mistreated, and would later be involved in politics and efforts to better the community.
One of the largest gangs in the country are the Vice Lords. Beginning in the North Lawndale neighborhood as the 14th Street Clovers, a Chicago hood that became known as Holy City, the Vice Lords would later emerge and breakoff into multiple factions, like the Conservative Vice Lords, Traveling Vice Lords, Mafia Insane Vice Lords, and the Unknown Vice Lords.
Outside of Vice Lords, there are Gangster Disciples, mainly in the K-Town section, Black Souls, New Breeds, and Four Corner Hustlers. Other West Side Chicago hoods include K-Town, The Village or the ABLA Homes, or Austin’s L-Town, Wicked Town and North Avenue, along with former housing projects like the Horner Homes or the Rockwell Gardens.
Currently, the West Side’s urban areas of the Chicago ghetto, like North Lawndale and communities around Madison have become less populated with large portions being plagued with abandoned and vacant properties as the Austin neighborhood holds a bulk of Chicago’s West Side black population.
Chicago Hoods: North Side
When it comes to the streets within the North Side Chicago ghetto, outside of one of the country’s most notorious former neighborhoods, Cabrini Green, much is not known about the North Side.
From the former location of the old Cabrini Green housing projects and the Marshall Field housing complex to the section of the city known as the North Pole, stretching from Lawrence Avenue to Rogers Park, the Chicago gangs and ‘hoods of the North Side are combined areas of blacks and Latinos.
Originally built during the 1940s, Cabrini Green went from temporary housing to a very troubled complex that displayed poor living conditions and much street activity from the local Chicago gangs, like Gangster Disciples and Mickey Cobras.
Today, after the demolishing of the Cabrini Green, the main ‘hood of the Near North Side is the Marshall Field apartment complex, as well the Lathrop Homes, in which are slated to be redeveloped with less than the original amount of units being replaced.
The section of the North Side that is known as the North Pole, from Rogers Park to the Uptown neighborhood, is a large diverse community of African Americans and Latinos who have been displaced from other Chicago neighborhoods and have been making their way into the far North Side since the 1980s.
‘Hoods like Wicked City and the Jungle of Rogers Park or the Chicago gangs of Latin Kings, Black P. Stones and Gangster Disciples makes the North Pole as street active as the more notarized sections of the city.
With mass gentrification of numerous urban neighborhoods that are only minutes away from downtown and other main attractions, the far North Side (North Pole and surrounding areas) are destined to grow and become more urban due to redevelopment displacing people from the community.
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*Note: All information is provided either through people of the community, outside sources, and/or research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.