Brazers

Founded Founded in or near Lower West Side: Pilsen
Formerly known as

Los Brasers 1960s; Brazers 1971-1980?

Affiliations ;
Colors Black, White, Red, and Green
Color usage Green, white and red 1970s-1980; Black and red 1980-present
Primary ethnicities Latino (Mexican)
Symbols Mexican Flag, Eagle's Head, and Spear
Symbol usage

Mexican flag eagle’s head 1970s-1980; Pitchfork and spear 1980-present

Status Active

The Brazers story starts out on the south west side of Chicago at the intersection of 19th and Marshafield in the Heart of Chicago section of the Lower West Side neighborhood in the early 1970s.  The Brazers were more known as “Los Braceros” when they formed as the “Brazer” name didn’t come until later.  The Braceros consisted of Central American youths and Mexican youths that migrated to Chicago mostly illegally.  When these young men arrived they didn’t speak the best English and they worked as laborers.  Many laborers carried cash on them which is what gave them the term Bracero which means a laborer that always carries cash.  Braceros also only refer to Mexican laborers but these guys were migrants of different Hispanic nationalities.  Pilsen  was mostly Americanized Mexicans by the early 70s; therefore, migrants were often picked on and bullied or even beaten and robbed of their cash.  The neighborhood gangs knew these young men carried cash on them so they were often beaten on the street or harassed for money.

These youths finally got sick of being harassed and beaten so they decided to form a group to protect each other.  The group decided to mock the slang name they were called in the neighborhood “Bracero” and make it their own.  The group adopted the Mexican flag colors because of the Mexican members of the group and because of the neighborhood they lived in even though many members were Central American.  The Braceros were not a street gang but more of a party crew that could assemble to fight alongside each other if need being.  Using the Mexican flag as their colors angered neighborhood gangs but Braceros fought hard in the 70s to keep their identity.

Los Braceros tried to just function as a party crew but they soon got into fights with neighborhood gangs like Halsted Boys, Morgan Deuces and the Kool Gang and Latin Kings and this dragged them into gang activity but Braceros refused to use guns, they instead wanted to always fight with fists because it was more honorable and tougher.

In the year 1980,  Los Braceros realized there was too much gun play in Pilsen and packed up and left the area taking about half of more of Los Braceros including Tarzan, Choli, Chongo and Beto to the Uptown neighborhood at the intersection of Sunnyside and Hazel.  Tarzan assumed leadership of the Brazers.  Once the Braceros arrived they changed their identity and Americanized their name more to become the “Brazers.”  Although most Hispanic residents in Uptown were Puerto Rican the Brazers scooped up mainly Mexican youths they found in the neighborhood as they made their way to Chase Park (Ashland and Leland) and left Sunnyside and Hazel.  In this area the Brazers found an old enemy the Latin Kings as they also got into it with the Gaylords, Kenmore Boys and Vice Lords in the neighborhood as well.  While encountering these enemies the Brazers found other neighborhood gangs that had the same enemies in common especially the Latin Stylers, Simon City Royals and the Black Gangster Disciples.

In the year 1981, the Folk alliance grew in size as more gangs were invited to join Folk or People, this is when the Brazers joined the Folk alliance alongside the Latin Stylers and the Black Gangster Disciples.  The Black Gangster Disciples were the ones that directly took the Brazers right into the alliance at the same time as the Stylers. The Stylers were close allies with the Maniac Latin Disciples and brought the Brazers before the MLDs taking the Brazers into the “Maniac” alliance. It was perhaps at this point where the Brazers changed their colors to black and red.

Brazer turf grew all around Chase Park as they now conquered along the boundaries of:  Ainslie Street on the north, Leland Avenue on the south, Beacon Street on the east and Paulina Street on the west.  The 1980s was perhaps their best years as they became a major force to be reckoned with in Uptown.

The Brazers fought vicious gang wars with People Nation enemies throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. The Brazers fought hard until the police and immigration cracked down on them in Chase Park in the mid-1990s and deported many of their members.  In 1996 the Brazers then left Chase Park and opened operations at the intersection of Morse and Wayne in the nearby Rogers Park neighborhood as the police were on them in the Uptown neighborhood.

At some point the Brazers went to war with fellow Folks the Spanish Cobras and Ashland Vikings. At some point the Brazers withdrew from Morse and Wayne but possibly not until the 2010s decade.  The Brazers may still be active in the area.

If you have any 1970s, 1980s or 1990s pics please send them in!

Questions:

  1.  What exact year did the Brazers form as Los Braceros?
  2. Who was the founder of Brazers?
  3. What years did each leader lead up to the year 2000?
  4. What exact year did Brazers war with Cobras and Vikings and why?
  5. Why did the spear become a symbol?