|Colors||Black and maroon|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Puerto Rican)|
|Symbols||Gothic/medieval cross with 3 dots, "440+" 1975-present|
|Affiliation||Folks since 1987|
|Founding neighborhood||Back Of The Yards section of New City neighborhood, 55th and Halsted|
|Main neighborhood||Back Of The Yards section of New City neighborhood|
Photo from a 1980s Chicago Police manual. You can see the raised pitchfork, this tag was likely done right after they joined Folks.
The Latin Souls are one of the only current gangs that started in the Back of The Yards section of the New City neighborhood. Most other gangs besides old extinct white greaser gangs, migrated to the neighborhood and were not started there. The story starts out at around 55th Street on the far south side of the Back of The Yards section a few blocks from Sherman Park. A Puerto Rican gang formed around here known as the “Village Sharks.” I have no idea who the founder was nor do I even know what year they formed, I also do not know the exact street corner they started on. I theorize they are maybe as old as the mid-1950s because greaser gangs started in the area at that time and I have seen pictures of Latin Souls already in their 20s from the late 1960s.
By the year 1962, the Village Sharks had transformed into the “Latin Souls.” By 1962 the African American street gang known as the Devil’s Disciples began to heavily colonize the Englewood neighborhood which borders the south east side of Back of The Yards. The Devil’s Disciples were spreading like wild fire because their leader, David Barksdale, was all about taking over the south side African American neighborhoods and building a super gang. Now the Disciples were hanging around the north side of the neighborhood by 55th Street (Garfield Blvd) and causing trouble with Latino youths.
A leader emerged among the Village Sharks that wanted to unite all Puerto Rican and Mexican youths in the area to join forces and fight these invaders that threatened them along 55th Street named Hector “Pancho” Sanchez. 55th Street was the dividing line between the Back of The Yards and Englewood and West Englewood.
Englewood was almost completely turned into a black neighborhood with over 75% being African American residents while West Englewood was about 15-20% black at that point in time but was still very Italian. The Latin Souls were concerned with the part of the border with Englewood.
The new Latin Souls made their territory at 55th and Halsted, and the younger group of Souls the “Emerald Knights” were situated one block away at 55th and Emerald. A few years later the Latin Souls opened up at 55th and Racine and now had a presence in Sherman Park. The Latin Souls were on the east side of Sherman Park but on the west side, at 55th and Ashland, the Gaylords had started up at the same time in 1966 and war was on between these two gangs. The southern part of Back of The Yards was Latin Soul hood until about 1971.
In about 1971, the families of the Latin Souls moved out of the southern part of the neighborhood and migrated to the central part the Back of The Yards to 48th Street and this is where they bumped into a gang called the “Saints” that were a mixture of Polish and Mexican youths. Right away the Saints from 45th and Wood did not take kindly to the Latin Soul’s presence and started a war with them. The war became real vicious real quick. These two were fighting over who was going to be the big shot Latino gang in the neighborhood.
In the year 1975, Black Soul leader Wayne “Jack Bobo” Edwards temporarily moved into the Back of The Yards neighborhood quite possibly for the reason of doing business with Latinos there. Whatever, his motive was for being there he ended up making a business deal with the Latin Souls. I theorize that deal was for the Latin Souls to watch over his drug operation in the neighborhood but that is just theory for now. As a result of this business deal Jack Bobo connected the Latin Souls to his Mad Black Souls from the west side. Both Mad Black Souls and Latin Souls adopted the “440+ concept” and now “440” would appear in both Latin Soul and MBS gang symbols.
In the early 1980s, the vast majority of street gangs were allied with either the People or Folk nation alliances but in the Back of The Yards this alliance was not necessary because Peoples and Folks were not crawling all over the place.
It was not until the mid-1980s that migrating Latino gangs began to flood the streets of the Back of The Yards and began testing the Saints and Latin Souls. Gangs like Two Six, Latin Counts, Latin Kings, La Raza, Satan Disciples and others began coming in spreading the word about Folk or People.
In 1987 the Latin Souls made the decision to join the Folk Nation under the wing of the Two Sixs and this unified the Latin Souls with La Raza, Satan Disciples, Black Gangsters Disciples, and former enemies the Black Disciples (formerly known as Devil’s Disciples).
Between the 1970s and 1980s the Latin Souls were at 48th and Hermitage “Chief Town,” 49th and Marshfield “Murderfield,” 50th and Hermitage “formerly Chief Town” in the Back of The Yards.
In the 1980s the Latin Souls spread to 57th and Trumbull (Senka Park) in the Gage Park neighborhood. The Souls opened up in Marquette Park at 65rd and Sacramento “Skinny Town” and 63rd and Karlov in the West Ridge neighborhood.
The unity among Folks did not last long and soon interalliance wars were running rampant on the streets of Chicago and the Latin Souls got caught up in a war with La Raza in 1995, over time, the Latin Souls would end up at war with Two Sixs, City Knights and Satan Disciples by the turn of the 21st century.
The founder of the Latin Souls Hector Sanchez died of a heart attack in 1995 after over 30 years of leadership.
Over time the Latin Souls lost their satellite territories in Gage Park, Marquette Park and West Ridge. They also moved “Chief Town from 50th to 48th but I do not know the story of that or the story of the lost territory in their other areas. The Latin Souls do not have much turf in the Back of The Yards but they have retained several soldiers on the turf they do have that has numbered in the hundreds.
Please send in old school pics. 1950s , 1960s 1970s pics will be especially appreciated! Please send Village Sharks and Emerald Knight pics!
- What year were the Village Sharks started?
- Was Hector Sanchez the leader all the way up until 1995? If not what was the timeline of leaders up to the year 2000?
- What exact year did the Souls abandon 55th Street turf?
- What exact year did the Souls set up on 48th and what was that first corner up there?
- What year did the war with the Saints start and why?
- What started the war with City Knights and what year?
- What started the war with La Raza?
- What year did war start with SDs and why?
- What year did war start with Two Six and why?
Zook Published: Updated: