Brazers

Founded Founded by Lalo in or near Lower West Side: Pilsen
Founding story

Founded Pilsen, 17th and Racine.

Formerly known as

Los Brasers 1960s; Brazers 1971-1980?

Affiliations ;
Colors Black, White, Red, and Green
Color usage Green, white and red 1960s-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 1960s-1980; Pitchfork and spear 1980-present

Status Active

The Brazers story starts out on the south west side of Chicago at the intersection of 17th and Racine in the Pilsen section of the Lower West Side neighborhood.  In the late 1970s a new wave a Mexican migration came to the southern Chicago area and there was some animosity toward these newly arrived immigrants even by American born Mexicans in the Pilsen area.  Many of the newly arrived youths were picked on and called “Brazers” or “Braceros” in Spanish which translates in English to a Mexican undocumented migrant worker.  One common trait of newly arrived Mexican workers was to keep all their cash in their pockets and this made them a target of Americanized Mexican street gangs in Pilsen that would jump them and rob them.  These youths were eventually getting sick of being robbed and bullied by the neighborhood gangs so they formed their own group to stick together in numbers to protect themselves.

“Lalo” was the founder of the new party crew that he called “Los Braceros” named after the taunting name that these youths were called, now they stole that taunt and used it as their club name.  Los Braceros was just a party crew and not a gang that took a lot of pride in their Mexican culture.  They used the colors of the Mexican flag to show their pride and to perhaps symbolize that they were more prideful than the more Americanized Pilsen youths.

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 their 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 near Chase Park at Lawrence and Clark.  Tarzan assumed leadership of the Brazers.  The Braceros from Pilsen became their own gang notoriously known as “La Raza.”  Once the Braceros arrived they changed their identity and Americanized their name more to become the “Brazers.”  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 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.  Brazers were able to expand their turf in the mid 1990s to the intersection of Morse and Wayne in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

At some point the Brazers went to war with fellow Folks the Spanish Cobras and Ashland Vikings.  Later into the 1990s and especially by the early 2000s the Uptown neighborhood became heavily gentrified and was too expensive for Brazers to stay in Chase Park; therefore, the Brazers closed down their Uptown turf and moved all operations to Morse and Wayne where they remained.

If you have any 1960s, 1970s, 1980s or 1990s pics please send them in!

Questions:

  1.  What exact year did the Brazers form as Los Braceros?
  2. What happened to Lalo?
  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?