|Founded||Founded in 1960 by Harold Walker, David Barksdale, Jerome Feeman, and Richard Strong in or near Englewood|
Founded in Hyde Park as Devil’s Disciples by David Barksdale, and in Englewood as Black King Cobras by Harold Walker and Jerome Feeman.
|Formerly known as||
Black King Cobras 1960-1966; Devil’s Disciples 1960-1966; Black Disciple Nation 1966 – present
|Colors||Black, Red, and Blue|
|Color usage||Black 1960-1969; Black and blue 1969-21st century; Black, blue and red - present|
|Primary ethnicities||African American|
Pitchfork 1966-1989, roman numeral “III” 1989-present
Included is the story of Mickey Bull and the conquest of the Robert Taylor Homes
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 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), Shorty was only a member of the gang in the early 1960s but not the founder. The organization was likely founded by Harold “Prince Money” Walker.
Many believe that David “Big D” Barksdale founded the Devil’s Disciples but in reality Richard “Champ” Strong founded the Devil’s Disciples in 1960 while David Barksdale was just an original member. Richard Strong started the Disciples on the street corner of 53rd and Kimbark in the Hyde Park neighborhood also on Chicago’s south side. Richard Strong was just like his last name, a strong individual with very charismatic leadership that had no fear of anyone. In July of 1961 Strong moved out of the area and moved into the Cabrini Green public housing project. Instead of bringing the Devil’s Disciples to Cabrini Green he instead started his own group born out of the Disciples called the Black Family Deuces, also known as Black Deuces or Deuces Wild. Strong also created the group B.L.A.C.K.S that stood for Black Lateral Action Committee Knights of Strength. Eventually, the Black Deuces assimilated back into the Black Disciple nation in the 1970s, thus, putting Black Disciples in Cabrini Green.
In July of 1961, David Barksdale took over leadership of the Devil’s Disciples. 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 one of the founders of the Devil’s Disciples street gang then the second Chief. 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 in 1960 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 in the mid-1960s and made Englewood their largest stronghold.
It was this same year of 1963 when David Barksdale first started hanging out with the very young Jerome Freeman and his Black King Cobras. 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 and co-founder who was 18 years old at the time. 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 interested in leading the Imperial Gangsters. 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 old and became quite loyal to the young Larry Hoover. Opportunity came when Alex Rain was killed in the streets and Larry Hoover’s mentor Andrew Howard helped Larry become the new leader of the Imperial Gangsters while Howard was 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 Stone Rangers, Vice Lords and Latin Kings. After Larry Hoover took control of the Imperial Gangsters he renamed them the 68th Street Cobras.
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 the 68th Street Cobras. Freeman was spiteful of Hoover for a long time even though Larry would marry Wendy Jenkins and they had children together. I’m not positive but I think the two eventually patched it up even though their organizations were at war.
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.
By the year 1968, The Robert Taylor Homes public housing projects were ran by gangs like the Cobra Stones (Mickey Cobras). Fourteen-year-old Black Disciple Vanguard (Heavy hitter enforcer) Michael “Mickey Bull” Johnson moved into the Robert Taylor Homes in 1966 and became one of the first Disciples in these projects at the age of 12. Johnson led a conquest to take over a large piece of the buildings between 49th and State down to 53rd and State in the Grand Boulevard and Washington Park neighborhoods in 1968. His conquest against the Cobra Stones was a success and Mickey Bull put the Disciples in the Robert Taylor Homes for the first time in history, he then became the leader of all BD operations in those buildings.
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. Even though Larry Hoover was second in command David Barksdale considered Shorty and Don Durky as his best guys.
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.
Since 1968, David Barksdale had been working with leaders of the Black P Stones on several failed peace treaties. By June of 1970, another weak peace treaty was in effect but this was broken on June 7, 1970 when David Barksdale was shot in his side at a bar at 848 West 69th Street (69th and Peoria) in the Englewood neighborhood. The shooters were Black P Stones. Larry Hoover was there with Barksdale when the shooting started and acted quickly after Barksdale was shot by quickly getting Barksdale into his car. Hoover then raced to St. Bernard’s Hospital In Englewood and was accredited with saving David Barksdale’s life after Barksdale suffering an M-14 bullet wound in his side that passed into his kidneys causing terrible damage.
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 BGDs. Larry 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 assassination attempt in 1970. 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 other 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 Both Jerome Freeman and Larry Hoover each felt they should take over the B.G.D.N now that David had passed. Freeman still hated Hoover for everything that took place in the 1960s prior to 1969 and wanted nothing to do with him. Both men had several supporters on each side and neither side would not budge. This brought about a 2 year civil war between BGDs that was pretty bloody 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.
In the Robert Taylor Homes Mickey Bull was advancing in rank as a top Vanguard and was still running the buildings between 49th Street and 53rd Street, especially the 5 white buildings at 51st and State and the red buildings on 49th. He was put in prison in 1973 for manslaughter charges then was released in 1975. Now by the summer of 1976 he had enough power to order deeds he needed to be done. In July 1976, Todd White had stopped in the Robert Taylors by the 4844 S. State Street building. White was not known around there and was wearing fancy clothes and drove a nice car. Mickey Bull and Thaddis Terrell saw the man and saw an opportunity to rob White. Mickey Bull approached White while Terrell walked up and put a pistol to White’s temple and told him to give them all his money. White said he had no money and Bull searched him and found nothing. Bull then grabbed the man by his necktie and dragged him across the street. White gave a wise crack saying “I told you I didn’t have any money.” Then he twisted away and started to run. Bull was enraged because the man not only got physical and started running but also because of his wise crack, but Bull did not have to shoot White instead he told Terrell to do it, Terrell then fired one shot right through White’s chest, Mickey then said “Pop him again…..make sure he’s dead.” After the incident both Terrell and Johnson were charged with murder. Even though Bull was still on parole for the 1973 manslaughter he was only given 5 years for the murder and was back on in Robert Taylor by 1977 (Chicago Tribune, December 3, 1986).
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.
In 1977, Jerome “Shorty” Freeman was sent to prison for armed robbery. When he was behind bars during this 5 year stint he set up the nation of Black Disciples behind prison walls alongside Mickey Bull after Bull was incarcerated again in the late 1970s. The Black Gangster Disciples agreed to a complete split behind bars where they would operate as separate nations; however, this did not apply to the streets yet. Before Bull went into prison he managed to convince several members of the Mickey Cobras from a 49th and State Street Robert Taylor building to become Black Disciples. These Mickey Cobras were known as the “Fidel Castro Mickey Cobras.” The building that was taken was the 4844 building.
Relations between BDs and BGDs behind bars in the late 70s to very early 80s was very rocky which caused several flare ups of violence. 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 year 1981, Mickey Bull was released from prison and was given a new rank as “Bishop” which was a very high position. He also came out with a message for all BGDs and BDs on the streets that they now were either considered BGD or BD. If BGDs were Freeman supporters they were now known as Black Disciples, while Larry Hoover supporting BGDs remained as BGDs, this completely ended the Black Gangster Disciples alliance and the name was now only for Larry Hoover supporters. Mickey also taught BDs the new hand sign which was the “Gates” or the three fingers, this was not the new hand sign. Mickey Bull also notified both organizations that they were part of the Folk Nation alliance, he then taught BGDs and BDs on the streets all about Folk. He also reached out to Latino and white gangs on the streets and spread the word of the Folk Nation. This was also the time when several new gangs joined the Folk Nation.
In the year 1982, Mickey bull and the BDs took over the long standing Mickey Cobra buildings near 45th and State. This was the 4555 and 4525 buildings which the Cobras held since 1962. This left the Mickey Cobras with only “The Hole” which was three buildings from 53rd and State down the 54th and State. Mickey Bull had successfully pushed the MCs south of 53rd Street.
In the year 1984, Mickey Bull was promoted again to the rank of “Minister” which gave him his own “Dynasty.” Being a Minister was a very high rank that usually no one receives in the organization. Having a dynasty means you control on entire area of the city. Mickey’s dynasty was the entire south side of Chicago, anywhere from Bronzeville down to the wild 100s was controlled by Mickey. His main territory that he directly supervised daily was the Robert Taylor Homes. He held BD meetings in front of the 4950 building. Bull himself stayed at the 5041 S. Federal St in apartment 1505 with Brenda Wear. He ran that building and all the buildings around (Chicago Tribune, December 3, 1986).
In the early 1980s and 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 the Englewood neighborhood. 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. They even controlled the elevators in the projects and would jump down the shafts and hitch rides up and down.
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 the tempers began to flare. 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 on the streets of Englewood.
Gun fire was then popping off between BGDs and BDs for control of Englewood which led to some deaths, now all-out war was declared between the two organizations in Englewood only 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” citywide to show they severed ties to the BDs in 1989.
In the hot summer of 1991, some GDs were ready for war with the BDs but Mickey Bull was holding relations tight between the two organizations and this was a threat to GDs that did not want to be controlled this way. Bull was not expecting GDs to come after him because there was no full fledged war yet, he was also untouchable and many BDs and GDs feared and respected him. Mickey was mild mannered and charming but he would also have no tolerance for those that crossed him. When he walked the streets he had a special whistle that BDs knew. When Mickey whistled it meant he was summoning some soldiers for business. It didn’t matter what you were doing; if you were laying in bed with the flu, if you were laying in bed with your girl, if you were taking a shit, it didn’t matter, you had to stop everything and rush outside to Mickey when he whistled. He had this kind of power and enemies could not touch because he could see it coming, but in August of 1991, he never expected GDs to come at him and that is what happened, members of the Gangster Disciples shot him dead on the streets which caused an immediate violent backlash from the BDs that became legendary. Payback had to be harsh for this and on August the 7th Englewood was a war zone.
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 because of the death of Mickey Bull. 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 a 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 Gangsters 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 Gangsters 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.
Between 1991 and 1994, the southside of Chicago was in a state of intense warfare between GDs and BDs. Gang members from both gangs basically said you couldn’t go anywhere during that time. It was not until 1994 when Marvell Thompson stepped in after he was cleared on a murder charge that the violence between GDs and BDs settled down for a while.
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.
In the 2000s decade as the Robert Taylor buildings were being torn down the BDs expanded and were eventually running territory from 43rd down to 49th and State. This brought the BDs a lot of extra profits before the buildings all came down by 2006. The BDs also took over the 5th Ward and New Town from the GDs in the 2000s.
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.
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