D.J. Kennedy

Chicago: Gangster City Introduction

by D.J. Kennedy

- Introduction
If you do not know me I am DJay Kennedy and I am a mediator here at Genius. What you should know about me is that I was raised in the city in various neighborhoods and I do not only have plenty of research for this article but I also have plenty of personal experience as well. In this article I will be discussing the city of Chicago and it's gang culture breaking it down from the bottom up. I will discuss the History the gangs, the hierarchy,territories,structures and even have a Map I made myself showing where each set is in the city. My goal with this page is to educate people on why Chicago is "Gangster City" and who the gangs in this city really are.

- The History
Chicago's gang culture has been prevalent in the city ever since the 1920s when Italian gangsters like Al Capone were fighting Irish thugs like Bugs Moran, the difference is the gangs of Chicago today are much larger and stronger in numbers than the mafia's ever were, in fact it doesn't even compare. After World War 2 and after the Prohibition era Chicago received a large amount of immigration from Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrants and African Americans from the south as well. A majority of these people were poor and naturally due to the harsh racism from the whites they would live in neighborhoods specific to their own race and since they were all poor these neighborhoods would be called "Ghetto's". In the 1950s a term for all the black neighborhoods on the South Side was called the "Black Belt". In the 1950s the Black Belt had grown so large to the point where a neighborhood called "Lawndale" on the West Side eventually joined the Black Belt also. During this time most White gangs were beginning to fade away and they joined workers unions under the Democratic party instead, one leader of these members was Richard J Daley . Daley wanted to continue segregation and as a result of trying to stop African Americans from expanding into his home neighborhood Bridgeport he was able to build an expressway and an 18 Tower Project building to stop the expansion with union money. By the late 1950s and early 60s the Civil Rights movement was starting and most white gang members were now getting jobs as police as police brutality shot up in minority neighborhoods,however, with the Civil Rights movement inspiring minorities all over the nation small groups of people were forming "Neighborhood cliques" throughout the city of Chicago ready to defend their neighborhood against the brutality and corruption of the city they live in. The first of these groups in the black community were known as the Vice Lords and Blackstone Rangers, each had a good intention, to serve their neighborhoods in the best way they could. The Vice Lords would help by running alternative schools and starting businesses in Lawndale while the Rangers built a job training program with educational components, unfortunately however Daley saw this as a way the Black community gaining momentum and effective immediately he declared a "war" on gangs. The Westside wasn't the only area of the city with rising gangs, two men on the south side of Chicago in the Englewood neighborhood had gangs of their own and ran them like businesses, David Barksdale and the Black Disciples and Larry Hoover and the Black Gangsters, both of these men eventually crossed paths and united both their gangs to be one "Super" gang known as the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN). It was then that Larry Hoover introduced an additional concept to the way they could run their businesses, the drug trade. This served as the business model for all gangs starting in the 1970s and is still the main focus of gangs to this day. Each gang in Chicago has it's own story and I intend to tell it one page at a time.

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