Chicago Gang History

Status: Active

Black Disciples

ColorsBlack 1960-1969, Black and blue 1969-21st century, and Black, blue and red - present
Primary ethnicitiesAfrican American
SymbolsPitchfork 1966-1989, roman numeral "III" 1989-present
AffiliationFolks since 1978
FounderHarold "Prince Money" Walker, Jerome Freeman?, David Barksdale
Founding year1960
Founding neighborhoodHyde Park - Devil's Disciples, Englewood - Black King Cobras
Main neighborhoodMany south side neighborhoods in Chicago

BD tag 1980s when they still used the pitchfork


1968 posing for Life magazine

1968 posing for Life magazine


When it comes to the history of the Black Disciples I would need to repeat all the info I wrote about in the Gangsters Disciples’ history which I have pasted below to get you as the reader started on how all this began, then I will pick up from the late 1970s in through the 1990s (no later because 21st century banging is not my thing to talk about).  I did my best to edit out of this pasting anything that has more to do with Larry Hoover and the Gangsters that does not pertain as much to BD history.

The Black King Cobras formed in the Englewood neighborhood in August of 1960.  Rumor has it that Jerome “Shorty” Freeman founded the Black King Cobras but I have suspicions about that because he was not born until 1951 making him only 9 years old back in 1960 (old enough to be a member but not a leader), so maybe Harold “Prince Money” Walker founded the Black King Cobras.  I am not sure because I do not know anything about Walker as far as date of birth and such are concerned. At any rate the two boys would end of up being in command of the gang sometime in the early 1960s.

David “Big D” Barksdale founded the Devil’s Disciples in July of 1960 on the street corner of 53rd and Kimbark in the Hyde Park neighborhood also on Chicago’s south side.  David Barksdale was born on May 24, 1947 as Donise David Barksdale to Virginia and Charlie Barksdale in Sallis Mississippi.  He was one of 13 children that all moved to Chicago in 1957 and from there Barksdale eventually learned the ways of the street and by 13 he was the leader and founder of the Devil’s Disciples street gang.  His second in command was Mac “King Blue Devil” “King Mac” Arthur.  Another high up Disciple was Dirk Acklin “Don Dirky” who also accredited as a co-founder of the organization.

By 1962, the Black King Cobras and Devil’s Disciples became close to one another as they shared the common enemy the Vice Lords.  The Devil’s Disciples also began spreading their influence into the Englewood neighborhood around that time and started to conflict very heavily with the Black Stone Rangers led by Eugene Hairston.  The Devil’s Disciples also very quickly captured the street corner of 49th and Dorchester (Kenwood Park) in the Kenwood neighborhood then began to expand all around southern Kenwood and northern Hyde Park from 49th street to 53rd street and from Dorchester to Woodlawn Ave.  53rd and Kimbark would be the headquarters of the Disciples.  The Hyde Park territory was eventually eradicated by gentrification of more upper class residents that began taking over later in the 1960s.  But by this time the Disciples had spread about everywhere else in the area around there so it was no real loss; accept seeing the original headquarters of 53rd and Kimbark be taken away.  The Disciples very easily relocated the new headquarters to 63rd and Normal in the Englewood neighborhood by the late 1960s and made Englewood their largest stronghold.

By 1963 a few things were going on toward the progress of this great entity.    Larry Hoover joined the Supreme Gangsters and this same year of 1963 when David Barksdale first started hanging out with the very young Jerome Freeman and his Black King Cobras in the Englewood neighborhood.  At this point in time Freeman was 12 years old and perhaps running the Black King Cobras alongside Harold Walker and Dirk “Kill Will” “Don Durkey” Acklin, Also in this circle was Andrew “Dee Dee” “Prince Birdie” Howard who was a high ranking member of the Supreme Gangsters who was 18 years old at the time (may have been a co-founder of the Supreme Gangsters due to fact he was born 5/27/1945).  Dirk and Freeman became very interested in the black power movement and began taking heavy interest in black Nationalism rallies.  This was also the point in time where David Barksdale first met Don Durkey and when David Barksdale got the idea to change his organization’s name to the “Black Disciples” to show more black pride and to also show a strong alliance with the Black King Cobras and some other gangs like the Clovers (Not 14th Street Clovers).  The Black Disciples soon absorbed the Clovers into their organization after they convinced Greg “G Shell” Shell and female member Didi “Sheba” Atkins it was in their best interest.

In 1964, Larry Hoover was then 13 years old and was hungry to reach the top of the Supreme Gangsters.  He didn’t just want to be in the gang he wanted to have it all and be the shot caller.  He definitely had the charisma and the smarts to be a gang leader but now he needed to convince veterans in his crew that had been banging for 5 years now and were older than him that he could lead them all.  Andrew Howard was one of those veterans that was 19 years and became quite loyal to the young Larry Hoover.  It was said that Hoover killed or had Alex Rain killed in order to reach the top.  Regardless of if Hoover killed him or not, Rain was killed in 1964 and Larry Hoover was now the new leader of the Supreme Gangsters while Andrew Howard was now the second in command.  It was now at this point in time where Larry Hoover was in the circle of friends with Andrew Howard, Jerome Freeman, Dirk Acklin, Mac Arthur and Harold Walker.  They all had one major thing in common; they hated Black P Stones, Vice Lords and Latin Kings.

In 1965, Jerome Freeman had found out that Larry Hoover had previously had sex with his girlfriend Wendy Jenkins.  Larry Hoover developed a relationship with her that lasted a long time but Freeman was angry that Larry betrayed him and got with her when Wendy and Freeman were together.  This started a war with the Black King Cobras and Supreme Gangsters in 1965.  Freeman then always hated Hoover and there was no patching it up.  With the Cobras and Gangsters feuding, it made it very hard for Gangsters and Disciples to get along.

On January 6, 1966 the Black King Cobras and Black Disciples came together along with several other street gangs to form one large super gang known as the “Black Disciple Nation.”  The Black P Stones and Vice Lords were growing out of control all around them and forming this merger was the best way to combat common enemies.  19 year old David Barksdale was the King of this nation and he was known on the streets as “King David.”  Four months later the Black P. Stone Nation alliance was formed by Eugene “King Bull” Hairston that was a merger of several gangs that had a deep rivalry toward Disciples.  Now there were three African American super gangs on the streets by 1966 and this could mean trouble for the Supreme Gangsters and many other gangs that were not taken into the BPSN or BDN.  This prompted 15 year old Larry Hoover to form the Gangster Nation, making himself and Andrew Howard as the leaders of the organization.  So back in the later 1960s you had Vice Lords, Black P Stones, Black Disciples, and Gangsters.  Jerome Freeman still hated Larry Hoover with a passion and Supreme Gangsters and Black King Cobras still fought it out.

In 1966 the Black Disciple nation became heavily active in the community opening fund raisers, legitimate businesses, enforcing school policies to keep kids in school.  There are many sources on the internet that can go into great detail about all the legit things the Black Disciple Nation and the Black Gangster Disciple Nation did back in the 1960s that is very easy to find; therefore, I do not need to go into extended details about it but there was some positivity that came out of all of this.  Maybe some of that money went to illegal activities but a great deal of it went into helping the community.

In 1967 the problems between Black King Cobras and Supreme Gangsters heated up further as the two gangs fought in a very vicious a legendary brawl.  Larry Hoover’s Supreme Gangsters overtook Jerome Freeman’s Cobras and many Cobras immediately changed their alliance from being Cobras within the Black Disciples nation over to being Supreme Gangsters in the Gangster Nation despite the fact that the Black Disciple Nation was much larger.  It was also at this point in time when a major ripple happened within the Black Disciples. On November 11, 1967 Harold “Prince Money” Walker had Mac “Blue Devil” Arthur killed over the fact that Prince Money was all about selling drugs and making money for himself and the Black Disciples, while Mac Arthur was heavily opposed to that.  The Black Disciple nation was in an uproar over this murder especially since the communities they lived in were plagued with drug problems and gang violence that came from the sale of drugs.  Mac “Blue Devil” Arthur was loved within the BDN and his killing was seen as disgusting; therefore, the BDN banished Harold Walker out of the BDN permanently.  It is said that he then moved to the Pilsen neighborhood and befriended some Latino youths at 18th and Bishop.  Walker then went by the nickname “King Bishop” and possibly had a part in forming the Bishops street gang.  Although this seems a little far-fetched to me, nevertheless, the Black King Cobra founder was ejected from the BDN forever.

In June of 1969 young 18 year old Hoover met with the Leader of the Black Disciples King David Barksdale.  Barksdale and Hoover would vibe so much better and the two realized that Gangster and Disciple concepts belonged together.  A merger was then made between Black King Cobras, Gangsters and Disciples known as the “Black Gangster Disciple nation.”  The “Black” honored the Black King Cobras and Jerome Freeman, the “Gangster” honored Larry Hoover and the Gangsters, the “Disciple” honored King David Barksdale and his Black Disciples.  David Barksdale was the King of the B.G.D.N while Larry Hoover was the Chairman and second in command. 

In June of 1969 Vice Lords, Black P Stones and BGDs all got together to form a coalition known as the “Lord Stones and Disciples” or LSD.  This was a unity of the gangs so they could march on the government and demand equal rights, better jobs and all the oppression and poverty in their neighborhoods.  This coalition effectively slowed down gang violence between these three organizations even after CVL INC went defunct in the fall of 1970.  For the rest of 1969 the LSD coalition really set aside a lot of gang wars as they marched on City Hall, Universities and everywhere, until finally in January of 1970 they achieved some success in bringing about “The Chicago Plan” which was “An agreement to implement the employment of minorities in Chicago’s construction industry” (Chicago Building Trades Council, 1970).  The final agreement lists 3,000 jobs or training positions in four categories.  But a Coalition spokesman claimed that the actual final agreement called for 1,000 jobs in each category (Chicago Defender, January 13, 1970)” (Panagopoulos, The Role Of Gangs In The Construction Of UIC).  It was soon discovered in the early 1970s that the Chicago Plan was failing about not producing like it should and by October of 1973 the LSD coalition disbanded.

On February 26, 1973 Larry Hoover ordered the death of William “Pooky” Young, a 19 year old drug dealer in the neighborhood that stole drugs and money from the BGDsLarry Hoover then ordered Andrew Howard to kill him and it all happened at 68th and Union in the Englewood neighborhood in an alley, Young was shot 6 times in the head.   On March 16 both men were arrested and charged with the murder.  By November 5, 1973 Hoover and Howard were sentenced to 150 to 200 years in prison in Statesville Correctional Facility in Crest Hill Illinois.  This did not disband the BGDN at all especially since David Barksdale was a free man on the streets.  He continued to run operations until his death on September 2, 1974. 

Barksdale died from kidney complications that came about from his multiple assassination attempts.  Another attempt in 1970 did not make things any better for him.  Barksdale was a smooth operator that did not appear as a nation king in the eyes of law enforcement.  He was not a big money making Don like Jeff Fort, and Barksdale stayed away from the spotlight with high profile big charges that were trying to be brought upon the B.G.D.N in the early 1970s.  Barksdale was a petty criminal on the books according to his rap sheet never being arrested for a felony ever.  He did jail time but no prison time, only spending a few days or so in county jail.  Everybody knew Barksdale was the king of the B.G.D.N and so did the police but the laws could not pin him on anything big.  Here is a list I got from the NGCRC website written by George W. Know of all the crimes Barksdale got arrested for as an adult

The rap sheet begins with the arrest of David Jones, 5 May 65, for Criminal Trespass to Vehicle (dismissed by Judge Comerford). On 13 July 65 the arrest is for “resisting”, and again 28 July 65 “Resist. & Disorderly G.B.”. The case also went to Judge Comerford.

* The first twist on the real name begins on 2 December 65, “David L. Barksdale” with investigation for aggravated battery.

* The next alias (Davis Jones) comes on 31 Dec 66 for Strong Arm robbery. His gives a home address of 8407 S. Morgan.

*Arrested as Davis L. Barksdale 14 Feb 67 for investigation of Burglary, released without charge, and listed as living at 522 W. 64th St.

* Arrested then again on 26 April 67 as Donise Barksdale for assault and resisting, it was non-suited. Address given: 6452 S. Union.

* An entry on 10 Aug 67 for David L. Barksdale (6452 S. Union) indicates “Appl. Chicago Urban Oppt.”, which presumably means an anti-gang program or gang-treatment program.

* David Barksdale was arrested on 13 Sept 67 for possession of marijuana, but it was a case dismissed by Judge Wendt.

* George Walker was an alias used in the arrest on 13 Oct 67 for disorderly conduct; but again the charge was non-suited (Judge Wendt again).

* David L. Barksdale on 1 Feb 68 was arrested for resisting and disorderly conduct (Xparte $25, Judge Cerda).

* On 7 April 68 David Barksdale was arrested for curfew, but again the case was dismissed (Judge Lee).

* On 28 May 68 David L. Barksdale was arrested for aggravated assault, battery and criminal damage to property, but also dismissed (Judge Cerda).

* On 8 June 68 David Barksdale was arrested for disorderly conduct (Xparte $25 & NC, Judge Zelezinski).

* David D. Barksdale arrested 27 June 68 for mob action. Again on 3 July 68 for Agg. battery.

* Arrested 24 July 68 for warrants on the two prior arrests, receives 6 months in the “House of Corrections” (i.e., today known as Cook County Jail) by Judge Zelezinski.

* On 3 August 68 charged with criminal damage to property, but on 3 Nov 68 it is dismissed (Judge Zelezinski). Similarly, 4 August 68 charged with resisting arrest and disorderly, again dismissed (Judge Zelezinski).

* Arrested 7 Mar 69 for a battery warrant, dismissed (Judge Zelezinski). On 4 Sept 69 again for “mob action”, again dismissed (S.O.L., Judge Genesen). Arrested 14 August 69 for unlawful use of weapon, and defacing I.D., dismissed (Judge Mooney).

* Arrested 15 January 70 for intimidation, dismissed (S.O.L., Judge Hechinger).

* David Lee Barksdale arrested for resisting arrest on 7 May 70, discharged on 10 Mar 71 (Judge Genesen). Arrested 4 Sept 70 for mob action, held to the grand jury (Judge Dunne). He is indicted for Mob Action by the Grand Jury. Verdict: not guilty (Judge Aspen).

* On 9 Jan 71 arrested for defacing firearms and discharging a weapon, gets 6 months in the county jail (Judge Dunne).

* Next record entry is 12 Jan 71, for traffic court. Arrested 26 January 71 for armed robbery conspiracy, dismissed by Judge Murphy. A 21 June 71 entry for traffic court. A blank entry for 11 July 1972 in the 6th district (CB No. 3586047).

* On 18 Jan 74 John David Barksdale arrested for gambling (dice), dismissed by Judge Neal.

* Last entry, 13 Feb 74 for possession of marijuana and fictitious license plates (3 days in jail, and $100 fine, Judge Murphy).

(2004: National Gang Crime Research Center, Knox)

As you can clearly see he dodged any major takedowns or did not get involved in big drug dealing operations like Black Gangster Disciples leaders did.  Barksdale was also known to be more focused on the activist side of the B.G.D operations as opposed to the major criminal enterprise side.

After Barksdale’s death Jerome Freeman now used this as a prime opportunity to go to war with Larry Hoover and break away from him.  Freeman still hated Hoover for everything that took place in the 1960s prior to 1969 and wanted nothing to do with him.  Freeman possibly would have qualified for the number 2 position in the B.G.D.N but instead declined and wanted his own BGDs. This brought about a 2 year civil war between BGDs that that was pretty bad in the streets at times.  By the summer of 1976 the war died down and an agreement was reached and about 1/3rd of the BGD went with Jerome Freeman and they were now known as “Black Disciples” to honor David Barksdale’s Disciple concepts only.  The other 2/3rd of the B.G.D.N stayed with Larry Hoover and they continued to grow into an organization of many thousands of members.

Larry Hoover’s meetings with rivals and allies along with his ability to lead protest led him to be able to organize a legendary meeting on November 11, 1978.  The leaders of these nations gathered for this meeting: Black Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Latin Disciples, Satan Disciples, Ambrose, Simon City Royals, Almighty Popes (now known as Insane Popes), Latin Eagles, Spanish Cobras, Imperial Gangsters, Orquestra Albany, Ashland Vikings and Two Six.  And for the rivals: EL Rukns (Black P Stones), Vice Lords, Mickey Cobras, Latin Kings, Insane Unknowns, Spanish Lords, P.R. Stones, Latin Counts and Bishops.  This gathering was to discuss a unity and also a divide, an organized divide.  There would be two alliances, the Folk nation and the People nation.  Behind prison walls all Folks were united and all Peoples were united.  They would only be enemies with the other alliance, but at any time the nation kings could stop a war or slow it down with meetings just like organized crime does it.  Right after this unity the war that was squashed behind prison walls between BGD and BD  thanks to the Folk nation.

Now the Black Disciple’s story continues on now that the Folk nation and People nation alliances were formed and the Black Disciples established their own organization in the streets in 1976.  In 1977 Jerome “Shorty” Freeman was sent to prison for armed robbery.  When he was behind bars during this 5 year stint Freeman was there for the creation of the Folk nation alliance that the BDs were now a part of.  This pretty much kept a lot of peace on the streets between BGDs and BDs for the most part but there were still nasty flare ups in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

One such flare up occurred on January 29, 1981 in Statesville prison in unit B.  Black Disciple gang member George Baily resided in this unit along with members of the Black Gangster Disciples.  Baily was allowed a privileged duty known as “cellhouse help” which allowed inmates to roam freely in the cell block without cuffs or escort by guards according to court documents.  Black Gangster Disciple leader Earnest “Smokey” Wilson disapproved of Black Disciples being cellhouse helpers and declared that all BDs should either resign from this position or flip to becoming BGDs.  Wilson even held a meeting in that unit for BGDs and BDs to attend in order to lay out the rules, three BDs including Baily were in attendance and two of those three BDs resigned from that position and listened to Wilson according to court documents, but Baily would not drop the position.  The BDs did not like this rule that Wilson imposed and for two weeks straight they chanted “B.D. Power” every night around 8 P.M. according to court documents.  Wilson then had a meeting with Dirk “Kill Will” Acklin, who as I stated earlier was a BD founder and leader, to express Wilson’s dissatisfaction of this revolt from the BDs, but apparently it got nowhere so Wilson picked a fist fight with Baily which got Wilson thrown in segregation, and on January 29th he was returned back to his unit and met with fellow BGDs to plot the murder of Baily.  The BGDs obtained an aluminum bat which ended up in the hands of Fred “Bobo” Collins.  Later on that day Collins struck Baily in the head with the bat repeatedly which caused Baily to be hospitalized, and on February 5, 1981, Baily died according to court documents (People vs. Harris, 1988).

In the mid-1980s relations between BDs and BGDs was at its best point, especially now that Folk nation rules and regulations reached the streets, now both gangs would often team up against rivals like Vice Lords, Black P Stones and Mickey Cobras.  The Crack Cocaine epidemic of the late 1980s caused relations between the two gangs to completely break down, mainly because of the Crack trade in three areas of the city, the Englewood neighborhood, Robert Taylor projects and the Stateway Gardens projects.  Beginning in the year 1987, fierce competition and intense gang wars erupted in the high rise public housing projects city-wide.  Gangs began muscling in on these buildings and began setting up their own security as they walked through the hallways armed with automatic weapons and shotguns as they patted down residents and imposed curfews, the competition was fierce.  The Englewood neighborhood is Chicago’s most violent and most impoverished neighborhood and just like the high rise housing projects, the Englewood community became a hotbed for Crack Cocaine users which made distribution a large money making commodity. The BDs had a long rooted history in the Englewood community as the largest piece of their story started on these streets and they felt ownership of this neighborhood.  Black P Stones and Mickey Cobras were never welcomed by BDs in this neighborhood, but now the BDs biggest allies the Black Gangster Disciples were muscling in on too many BD drug spots because BGDs felt they were entitled due to being the larger organization and sitting at the top of the Folk Nation alliance.  BDs felt disrespected from their BGD brethren by 1989 and tempers began to flare.  In the meantime, BDs wanted to expand at the intersection of 45th and Federal and all the Robert Taylor project buildings at that intersection but BGDs were right nearby and were not willing to share this area with BDs even though the BDs had been there a long time, BGDs wanted to grow more into those buildings which would threaten the growth of BDs at that location, this would cause riffs in the 1980s but by 1989 it was becoming unbearable.  Jerome Freeman ended up back in prison with a 28 year sentence for felony drug charges in 1989 and soon after all hell was about to break loose.   

Gun fire was then popping off between BGDs and BDs for control of 45th and Federal and in Englewood which led to some deaths, now all-out war was declared between the two organizations and although BDs were smaller in numbers, they were not afraid to war with BGDs and actually welcomed it.  The BGDs dropped the “B” or “Black” out of their name and went by “Gangsters Disciples” to show they severed ties to the BDs in 1989. 

By August of 1991 during one of the hottest and driest summers in Chicago history the feuding between GDs and BDs was taken to a new level.  The battle for Englewood was very heated and drug turf was in fierce competition and overall these two gangs just did not like each other.  On August 7, 1991 the Black Disciples murdered three members of the Gangsters Disciples in cold blood on that hot August Wednesday night.  The murders were done out of a taxi cab, yes a taxi cab the BDs actually shot them from taxi cab which is one of the craziest ways a gang could do a hit on someone ever.  The problems all started that day at 66th and Peoria at the apartments at 6556 S. Peoria st (now torn down) when “Tojo” a Black Disciple came pulling up in the afternoon and taunted three Gangsters Disciples members by throwing up the BD gang sign.  One of the GDs Kevin Gibbs threw up a sign and shouted “BDK” and Tojo said “GDK,” then someone inside the building shot at Tojo and he started to drive off by stopped real quick to say he would be back later.  Later that night at 11:00 P.M. the Gangster Disciples were back out there selling drugs on that corner when a red and white taxi cab drove up with a red Lebaron.  Both vehicles then stopped and one of the windows on the taxi cab rolled down and a barrel of a gun appeared as the shooting suddenly started.  All three Gangsters Disciples were shot but two of them survived while the other died.  A little while later at 618 West 71st Street out in front of a submarine sandwich shop (71st and Lowe, now a vacant lot, buildings torn down since then) another shooting happened in which three Gangster Disciples were shot again, two of them ended up dying at that corner.  The taxi cab was apparently stolen to be used in this shooting perhaps as a diversion, after all, who would expect a taxi to pull up and start shooting at you?  After this shooting there was no love anymore between GDs and BDs it was all out war that would never quit.  The BDs even changed their hand sign from throwing up the forks to throwing up the “Tres” or “The Gates” by using three straight fingers.

As the 1990s progressed more and more Gangsters Disciple gang members flipped to Black Disciples.  In the earlier days there was no point on flipping from GD to BD because both gangs were allied against Black P Stones, Mickey Cobras and Vice Lord factions. But now there was an alternative to being a GD and still remaining Folks while you went up against your old enemies under the People nation, not only that many GDs had a secret animosity toward their own gang and knew flipping would not help because GDs and BDs were mostly tight.  Now that the war was in permanent swing, disgruntled GDs could flip to BD and several all ties to GD, unless of course they went to the joint. 

An example of this animosity happened in 1994 when the Gangsters Disciples had an internal gang dispute between GDs in the Madden Park Projects and the Ida B. Wells projects.  This was basically a dispute between 46th and Evans (Low End) GDs in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood and 37th – 38th and Ellis GDs in the Oakland neighborhood.  This lead to the deaths of “Chuck” and “Rimrod.”  After the Low End set had killed these two it was not enough, they then flipped their entire set to become Black Disciples.  There would eventually be more examples of GDs flipping to BDs in the 1990s and that is how the BDs got the majority of their new recruitment at first, until they got enough steam to take an increased rate of newer members than before. 

These new members were young and eager like Robert Sandifer “Yummy.”  Yummy was a young 11 year old fresh new recruit to the BDs in 1994.  Yummy was a kid that used to steal cars and break into houses since he was 8 years old.  Law enforcement could not put him in juvenile detention because he was too young and he could not go to anymore foster homes because he was too violent.  In August 1994 the Black Disciples had him kill some rivals.  Yummy blasted a 9mm pistol into a crowd of kids and accidentally killed young 14 year old Shavon Dean.  The murder brought a lot of public outcry and attention to the Black Disciples.  The BDs feared that this young of a member would snitch if he were caught by the police.  Yummy’s 14 and 16 year old brothers lured him to a viaduct underpass, had him get on his knees then pumped two bullets in the back of his head.  The two brothers were then convicted of the murder and a lot of attention ended up on the Black Disciples over this issue for a few years to come despite the BDs attempt to cover it up.

The BDs grew incredibly in the 1990s and 2000s decade as they climbed up to becoming one of the top 10 largest gangs in Chicagoland with members in other states and scattered all over the suburbs.  Violent gang wars erupted in the Robert Taylor and Stateway Gardens projects as gun fire echoed day and night mainly between BDs and GDs.  Both gang exercised majority control of both public housing high complexes and other gangs had a very small piece of these buildings; therefore, the BDs and GDs were each other’s biggest competition in these projects.  The BDs showed their muscle against the larger enemy and showed relentless pursuit of violence against their foes which gained them a massive reputation, causing many starry eyes young black youths to want to join the gang as they grew to over 6,000 members. 

In 1991 the Black Disciples took over the 16 story high rise Randolph Tower housing authority complex located in the Washington Park neighborhood which was located at 6217 S. Calumet Avenue (63rd and Calumet).  This large building the BDs nicknamed “The Castle” where they set up a complex $45,000 a day to as much as $300,000 a day Crack Cocaine and heroin operation in this tower.  The Tower was run by Marvel Thompson and residents and anyone were searched at the front door by armed BD guards with automatic weapons and shotguns.  This operation was incredibly complex as money from drug profits was even laundered and invested into an Atlanta nightclub, apartment buildings and even into the rap label M.O.B.  Black Disciple snipers were posted on the roof of the buildings equipped with high powered and complex sniper rifles while they wore night vision goggles at night so they could spot enemy gang members and pick them off.  The building was not friendly to police officers, and Chicago police stayed away especially after one incident where an undercover officer entered the building, and as he was patted down a bullet proof vest was discovered, as he tried to run a BD pulled out his pistol and shot the officer in the back, but the officer survived.  The BDs even became so bold that they hijacked the WCFL 104.7 radio frequency that was a frequency owned by a Christian radio station in the suburb of Morris, once you arrived in Chicago city limits the frequency was playing gangster rap music that was described by the Chicago Tribune article I got all this info from as having lots of foul language.  The frequency owners were shocked when they drove to Midway Airport and the music suddenly took over.  The frequency was also said to be used to communicate with The Tower to alert the gang of any possible threats coming (Chicago tribune David Heinzmann and Todd Lighty, May 14, 2004).  In 2004 a massive raid by the police swept through this complex as several members were arrested, in the aftermath it was decided the best way to stop the dealings at this complex was to tear the complex down and in 2004 the buildings were razed.  The Tower was the largest drug operation the Black Disciples had ever ran but the gang would continue to grow and open new ventures regardless.

The BDs would continue to expand and they opened up the Burnside neighborhood, South Deering neighborhood, Riverdale neighborhood (and Altgeld Gardens Projects), Washington Park neighborhood, Calumet Heights neighborhood, South Shore neighborhood, Roseland neighborhood, Pullman neighborhood, West Pullman neighborhood, Morgan Park neighborhood, Washington Heights neighborhood.  The BDs also opened up in several Chicago land suburbs and in other states.  The organization has grown to over 6,000 members.  In 2005 Jerome “Shorty” Freeman was released from prison after being put away for 16 years.  In 2011 Shorty died of health issues at the age of 60.

Please send in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pics!


  1.  Really, did Jerome Freeman found the Black King Cobras at just 9 years old?

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