|Founded||Founded in 1968 by Harold Walker in or near Lower West Side|
Founded in Pilsen near 18th and Bishop
|Colors||Black and Copper|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Mexican)|
|Symbols||Bishop's Head, Bishop's Hat, and Cross|
Cross with a line resting on top of each point of the cross
The story of the Bishops goes back to the late 1960s in the Pilsen section of the Lower West Side neighborhood. I am not 100% sure of this historical account but legend has it that Harold “Prince Money” Walker, a Black King Cobra founder (Black Disciple founder) ended up being expelled from the Black Disciple nation in 1968 after he plotted the murder of Mac “King Mac” “Blue Devil” Arthur who was another leader of the Black Disciples because Prince Money was all about making lots of money through drug and weapon sales. Blue Devil stood in Walkers’ way so he killed Arthur. The Black Disciple nation objected to this killing and cast Prince Money Walker out of the BDN. Legend has it that Walker moved to Pilsen in 1968 and lived among Mexican gangs and this is when he came across youths on the corner of 18th and Bishop.
It has been said for a long time that the Bishops were an offshoot of the Latin Counts so maybe the youths that Walker encountered were Latin Counts. Walker ended up convincing these youths to follow an organization he would create called the “Bishops” that were named after the intersection they were starting at. Walker then called himself “King Bishop” and the Bishops street gang was born in 1968, that would become close allies with the Latin Counts right from the start. I have no idea what happened to King Bishop after he started the Bishops, but my guess is he was gone a short time later, maybe killed or put in prison. He was African American and the Bishops are an all Mexican gang so this part of the history is pretty much lost. Some original members were Lil Mike, Bobby Bull, Bobby Bear, and Blackie.
The other version of the history says they started as a baseball team then evolved into a gang. I have no doubt they were a baseball team, as many gangs had baseball teams but the Bishops just starting as a team does not make sense especially sense it is also said they came from the Latin Counts, the early history has been horribly confusing so I am just going to go with the King Bishop story for now until someone credible can say the King Bishop story in inaccurate, if you know the story hit me up!
In the year 1970 the Bishops were a separate gang if they were indeed a Latin Count offshoot in the late 1960s. I do not think they were an offshoot at any point in time. The two gangs did become very close and they also hung out with the Latin Brothers. Latin Counts, Bishops and Latin Brothers all went up against the Ambrose, Latin Kings and the Satan Disciples and the allies that fought on the side of Ambrose. The goal was to gain complete control of 18th street in East Pilsen, and the Heart of Chicago area that the Satan Disciples and Gaylords guarded heavily. On the east of Ashland Ave along 18th Street the Bishops, Counts and Brothers were slugging it out with Ambrose on 18th and Throop, Racine Boys on 18th and Racine and then later La Raza on 18th and Loomis, Party People on 18th and Carpenter, Allport Lovers on 18th and Allport, then heading west of Ashland, the Satan Disciples from 18th and California.
From the start, the Bishops have always been known to be crazy and one of the tougher gangs in Pilsen. Eventually the Bishops spread to 19th and Bishop and they made their way across Ashland Ave to take 18th and Wood and 18th and Paulina on the west becoming the only gang to truly square off on 18th Street with the Satan Disciples in West Pilsen that ruled from 18th and California to 18th and Wolcott. The Counts were running 18th and Ashland down to 18th and Laflin, then the Bishops were back on the east of the Counts at 18th and Bishop and they had territory at 18th and Halsted to 18th and Desplains on the far east side of Pilsen.
On November 11, 1978 the People Nation alliance was created in the prison system and since the Latin Counts and Bishops were so closely united the Bishops were able to be accepted into the People Nation right away in 1978.
Between the 1970s and 1980s the Bishops grew in Pilsen even more to have a presence within the area of 16th Street to 21st Street and Ashland to Damen. The Bishops ventured further into the Heart of Chicago section of the Lower West Side neighborhood to open up 21st and California which was exactly one block away from the Two Two Boys and a few blocks away from the Two Ones which brought more war. The Bishops united with the Cullerton Deuces and Artistic Kents (Stone Kents) in that area. Eventually the Bishops would spread into the southern part of the Bridgeport neighborhood at 37th and Wallace and 37th and Lituanica (Donovan Park). The conquest of new territory also took the Bishops to take 51st to 52nd and Maplewood in the Gage Park neighborhood. The Bishops also advanced on 53rd and Wolcott in the Back of The Yards section of the New City neighborhood. Another big landing in the 1980s is when the Bishops arrived in the suburb of Cicero at Cermak Road and 61st and they recruited quite heavily in that suburb and expanded to open up in the suburb of Berwyn. The Bishops also got big in far western Illinois in the quad city suburbs of East Moline, Moline, Rock Island and Davenport, Iowa.
In the year 1991, the Bishops ended up getting tangled up in two significant interalliance gang wars. The Bishops were always really tight with the Latin Counts since the Bishops started back in 1968 and they had the brotherly “Bishop Count Nation” or “BCN” that they tagged all over the walls on 18th Street in Pilsen and they often congregated together at 18th and Ashland where their two hoods united. Now in 1991 18th and Ashland was a war zone between the two gangs all because of a couple of lethal shootings that started with a fight at a party. It all started with a party in which a Bishop and a Count were arguing then got into a fist fight. The Bishop would not calm down after the altercation and later that night he strolled to the outside of the Latin Count gang members’ home and shouted disrespectful things about the Latin Counts then started shooting at the house but did not hit his intended target instead he shot the gang members’ girlfriend in the chest, she died instantly. Later on that night a Latin Count named “Rhino” gunned down a Bishop named “Chuco” to avenge the death of the Counts’ girlfriend. Now the “Bishop Count Nation” or “BCN” was no more.
After all the years of partying together, backing each other up in fights and being willing to die for each other for over two decades came to screeching halt as the two would now engage in a vicious gang war within the People alliance that was not fixable except in prison. the Bishops got into it with another powerful ally the Latin Kings. The Latin Kings and Latin Counts ended up in a serious war in that same year of 1991 and usually the ultimatum for allies of both gangs was to choose between staying allies with Kings or Counts and there was no in between for the Bishops, they went to war with both of them! Like I said the Bishops have always been crazy and did not care about getting into any wars with anyone at any time. The Bishops were rivals with the Latin Kings all throughout the 1970s especially after the Latin King leader Raul “Baby King” Gonzalez tried to kill Bishop gang members in 1971 which got Gonzalez a 23 year prison term for killing the uncle of a Bishop. The Bishops allied with the Kings for a decade or less in the 1980s as they would even tag on the wall together, but now that was all over by 1991.
All these gang wars did become costly for the Bishops; therefore, they eventually closed their operations in the Back of The Yards, Gage Park, Bridgeport and Berwyn. The Bishops also lost 18th and 19th and Bishop a very long time ago but nobody else claimed these territories that I know of since the Bishops left. The Bishops have always kept the rest of their Pilsen territories into the 21st Century. The Bishops have had a lot of down members over the years.
Please send in old school pics, I would especially love to see any 1960s pics, please send them in!
- If Harold Walker was not the founder, please tell the real story
- What year did Bridgeport, Back Of The Yards, Gage Park and Cicero open up?
- What happened to Harold Walker? Who took over after he was gone? What was the time line of leaders after Walker, Meaning what years did each leader take over up until 2000?
- What year and why did Bridgeport, Gage Park and Back Of The Yards close?
- Why did the war with the Latin Kings happen?
- What happened to 18th and Bishop? What year did that turf dissolve?