|Founded||Founded in 1960 in or near Near West Side|
Founded in the Near West Side in Little Italy near Taylor and Oakley
|Colors||White, Light blue, and Dark blue|
|Color usage||Light blue and white 1960-1967; Dark blue and light blue 1967-present|
|Primary ethnicities||White (Italian)|
|Symbols||Knight's Helmet, Cross, 3 Slashes, Ku Klux Klansman, and Swastika|
The Taylor Jousters started in the year 1960 in the Near West Side neighborhood at the intersection of Taylor Street and Oakley Street in the Little Italy section. At this time the Taylor Dukes were ready to give up the gang life and start families after they graduated high school, however, they still wanted the neighborhood to be protected from Egyptian Cobras and Vice Lords from Jew Town or the projects in the area. The Dukes rested away everything to Pete Bianco to run a new group that would be a spin off of the Dukes. This new group would become the “Taylor Street Jousters.” The other original Jousters were: Carlos “Loco” Lopez, Juan, Rocky, Mouse, Lil Joe, Nick, Tito and Victor. The Jouster colors of light blue and white were adopted and their own symbol which was the knights’ helmet would become used. The Jousters resumed fighting against the Egyptian Cobras and now had new enemies like Vice Lords, Black Panthers and Harrison Gents.
As the 1960s progressed the Jousters took over Taylor Street from Taylor and Ashland to Taylor and Western, having their strongest points at Taylor and Oakley (in front of Traficante’s Drug Store) and Taylor and Ogden. The overall turf of the Jousters stretched in the large vicinity of the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) on the north, Roosevelt Road on the south, Canal Street on the east and Western Avenue on the west. The Jousters had several other hangout spots besides Traficante’s Drug Store, they also hung out at: Tony’s Hot Dogs at Polk and Western, Blackie’s Tavern located on Taylor Street just east of Oakley BLVD, the original Al’s Beef at Taylor and Aberdeen, in Jew Town by Roosevelt and Maxwell area, Papa Charlies at Taylor and Carpenter, Levitt and Roosevelt in front of the old juvenile detention center and Ferrari’s Bakery at Taylor and Western.
The rest of the Italian gangs began flipping to Jousters throughout the 60s as white flight continued rapidly in this area in the 60s. Italian greaser clubs like the Taylor Nobles and Taylor Majestics began to absorb into the Jousters and various others such as: Taylor Lordsman, Taylor Romans and Taylor Hawks. It became necessary to fight under one banner by the mid-60s and this multiplied the Jouster numbers greatly.
By the 1960s the neighborhood was changing into more of a black community as many Hispanic and white residents moved out during the Dan Ryan, Circle Interchange and UIC construction that razed many homes. Little Italy was turning into University Village at that time and the Italian identity was disappearing as the area became more of a black neighborhood. The Jousters were not necessarily racist as they took in Mexicans and even black members some times. The opposition was mainly toward newly arrived blacks and Hispanics that wanted to change the neighborhood and the migrant gangs that wanted to take over the area. In the mid-1960s the Jousters took in several Mexican members and by the later 60s the gang was majority Mexican as Italian members moved out of the neighborhood and left the gang life.
By the end of the 1960s decade much of the territory on Taylor Street was taken over by black and Latino migration which caused the Harrison Gents and Vice Lords to naturally take over more Jouster territory. Most Jousters had moved out of the neighborhood by this time making the battles for the remaining Jousters very hard fought and by 1970 the Jousters were confined to only Taylor and Oakley. Jousters were being led by “Loco” and now there were almost no white members as most of them were Puerto Rican and Mexican with even some black members. The last Italian in the club was Jack.
In the year 1971 the Taylor Jousters brought about expansion in order to avoid extinction because even though Taylor and Oakley was a strong section more was needed to ensure the future and that is when the Jousters arrived at North Avenue and Damen in the Wicker Park section of the West Town neighborhood and also at Fullerton and St. Louis in the Logan Square neighborhood. Both of these neighborhoods were changing from white to Puerto Rican; however, there was still more whites in these neighborhoods than in the Little Italy area. The Jousters also took in Puerto Ricans into their organization after this move and now whites were coming back into their organization but now there were Irish, Polish, German and even Italians once again. The move to Wicker Park and Logan Square was a rebirth of this organization.
Eventually the North and Damen chapter would grow so well that they would dominate the area of North Avenue on the Fullerton Avenue on the north, North Avenue on the south, Interstate 90 expressway on the east and Milwaukee Avenue on the west, taking a large piece of the Bucktown section of Logan Square.
In the year 1971, the Jousters found new allies in Logan Square and Wicker Park, they discovered the Gaylords were going through the same struggles as them trying to fight off outsiders from rapidly moving in and taking over the way of life of the neighborhood. Even though the Jousters were outsiders they still wanted to preserve the American way of life that they felt the majority of Puerto Rican migrants did not want to preserve so the Jousters and Gaylords joined forces as they fought against Warlords, Latin Kings, Spanish Lords, Imperial Gangsters, Spanish Cobras and Latin Disciples.
The Jousters found that they wanted to also preserve white pride in their territories through hanging out with the Gaylords then the Jousters adopted the American flag, a Klansman and a swastika in their symbols, they also followed the Gaylords and just about all the other white gangs into the “White Power Organization” or “WPO” which was an understanding among all the white gangs that they would not smash each other and only go after Hispanic or black gangs. The WPO was a cease fire and loose unity that was upset with the influx of migration into their neighborhoods that had caused these communities to deteriorate with drugs, prostitutes, high crime and Puerto Rican street gangs. The white gangs banded together for a common cause and this is how the Jousters found new unities and new allies that felt the same way about neighborhood preservation.
In Wicker Park by the Burger King on Milwaukee Avenue the Jousters had vicious fights with the Warlords. The fights were so intense that Milwaukee Avenue often had to be closed down when these fights were going on.
In 1973, the “United Five Organization” or “UFO” was formed for Gaylords, Taylor Jousters, P.V.R/P.V.P, Chi West and C-Notes. These gangs were more tightly knit than the WPO ever was but they did not fight with other white gangs outside the UFO until 1975. The UFO was a brotherhood unlike the WPO which was just a cease fire. The UFO served as a way for members of each of these gangs to fight side by side against common enemies and wear white arm bands to symbolize their unity.
During the time of peace with other white gangs the Jousters were able to greatly expand their territory. From St.Louis and Fullerton the Jousters were able to open Sawyer and Belden and Sawyer and Altgeld also in Logan Square. Sawyer and Atlgeld Jousters were known as “Library Jousters” because they hung out in front of the library. The Jousters were then able to push their way east into the Bucktown section of the Logan Square neighborhood opening sections at Honore and Bloomingdale and Cortland and Marshfield. The Jousters even opened territory in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the south side of Chicago somewhere between California and Western Ave near 47th and Archer.
The Jousters also made their way into the Lakeview neighborhood and set up at Lakewood and Henderson and Lakewood and Addison in the Wrigleyville section, in this area the Jousters fought hard with Simon City Royals, Latin Eagles and Puerto Rican Stones. The Jousters also spread to the west of Logan Square into the Irving Park neighborhood at Agatite and Kilbourn where they fought the Insane Popes.
The Jousters also landed in the Hermosa neighborhood at Keeler and Drummond as they cliqued up with the Gaylords and Young Freaks to fight against Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters. The Jousters also opened a highly unusual section in the Edison Park neighborhood at Octavia and Pratt being pretty much the only gang to ever exist in this neighborhood, the Jousters wanted to prevent gangs from moving in there.
By the late 1970s the Jousters were at their peak of success especially now that they conquered Hanson Park thanks to the leadership of “Tiny.” The young new recruits into the Jousters in this new neighborhood were posted at Beldon and Loral while the seniors were in Hanson Park. The Jousters were overall ran by “Banshee.” Hanson Park was being controlled mostly by the Simon City Royals as they fought off Gaylords in the neighborhood. The Jousters went in and viciously fought the Royals for the park until the Jousters took over the park in the early 1980s. These Jousters were originally known as “Midget Luna Lords.”
It was also in the early 1980s when the Jousters finally withdrew from Taylor and Oakley closing down the original chapter. The area was then conquered by the Satan Disciples after the Jousters left in about 1982.
In the year 1982 the UFO alliance broke up. The Hell’s Devils gang was not as strong as they once were and now the C-Notes became enemies of all their old pals especially the Gaylords and Jousters. The Jousters still had a strong alliance with Gaylords, Freaks, and P.V.P/P.V.R. The alliance between them was known as “GFJ” or “Gaylords Freaks Jousters.” The alliance of P.V.P/P.V.R and Jousters was known as “PVJ” or “Playboys Ventures and Jousters.”
The Jousters opened turf in the Irving Park neighborhood at Agatite and Kilbourn in 1984 or 1985. Now that the UFO was broken up the C-Notes and Jousters were at war and fighting over this piece of territory. In 1989 the Jousters left this turf as they headed for Riis Park.
In between 1985 and 1986 a series of bad events caused the Jousters to decline. The Edison Park section became heavily targeted by the police because that neighborhood wanted a zero tolerance on crime and gangs. The Logan Square and Bucktown sections of Sawyer and Altgeld, Cortland and Marshfield, St. Louis and Fullerton, Sawyer and Belden and Honore and Bloomingdale closed down due to an overwhelming amount of Puerto Rican immigration in the neighborhood the same could be said about North Ave and Damen that had to close in Wicker Park. Bloomingdale and Honore closed in 1985 after their leader of about five years “Lil Man” committed suicide.
The original section of Taylor and Oakley needed to finally close because the vast majority of the Near West Side neighborhood was black and became a really tough neighborhood as black gangs took over. Keeler and Drummond had become a completely Mexican neighborhood making Jousters and Gaylords a like move out of the area due to being outnumbered. Jousters also had to close down their Lakewood sets in Lakeview for unknown reasons. The Jousters were then left with just Hanson Park but heavy police presence began in 1985 when two members of the Simon City Royals were found violently murdered in the park.
Just when the Jousters seemed like they were going extinct they were given new life by leaders “Omen” and “Bear” as they opened a section in Riis Park in the Logan Square neighborhood putting them back on the map in that neighborhood which is a major accomplishment for any gang to lose a territory in a neighborhood then come roaring back. The Jousters then had enough momentum to keep the Hanson Park territory in the late 1980s but now they would face new challenges as Latino street gangs poured into the neighborhood to face off against the Jousters for claim on Hanson Park. Maniac Latin Disciples, Imperial Gangsters, Latin Kings, Latin Brothers, Simon City Royals, Insane Unknowns and Latin Pachucos all came in to invade the park and the war was on. Riis Park turf was closed in 1991 in 1991 because it was no longer a desirable turf for the Jousters and because the Chicago police began patrolling Riis Park heavily.
The years of 1987 to 1992 were probably the best years in Hanson Park for the Jousters but as the white population in the area began to move out of the area the Jousters began to shrink in size making control of the park harder to obtain. The Jousters refused to join the People or Folk nation and they refused to sell drugs in the community, the Jousters actually opposed any gangs that did these things; however, without the Gaylord’s support in the area.
By the mid-1990s the Jousters were severely outnumbered especially since most of their members had moved out of the area. In 1995 the Jousters stopped recruitment because they felt the area did not offer any more sensible recruits that would fit as good Jousters, however, the Jousters they still had were good enough for them to keep going and holding the park tightly.
The Jousters also closed down their Brighton Park section my the mid 1990s.
In the year 1997, many Hanson Park Jousters retired, however, if help was needed in the park for the active members the older members would rush to assist, thus keeping the Jousters holding the park throughout the rest of the 1990s while fighting all the Hispanic gangs. The Latin Pachucos especially wanted the park but the Jousters wouldn’t allow it.
Jousters continued to hold Hanson Park until the year 2005 until they finally moved out of the area due to too many Hispanic gangs bidding for power and the neighborhood as a whole was changing. There were now Imperial Gangsters attacking the park from the west, Vice Lords invading from the south out of Austin, Spanish Cobras invading from the east and then Latin Kings from the north. It now got to the point where there were discussions to begin allowing Latin Kings to hang in the park but instead Omen, Bear, Riddler, Lil Riddler, Zeus, Blade, Lil Joker, Sir Joker, DJ, Lil Bear and others all decided to close the park and not become park of the drug dealing gang culture so these Jousters decided to completely withdraw from the park which would mean the Jousters would no longer have defined territory. The park was handed over to the Latin Pachucos at that point.
The Jousters are still an active organization, however, they do not roam the city tagging and flashing gang signs and they certainly do not sell drugs like most gangs do these days, they come together when it is needed.
Please send in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pics!
- What happened to Pete Bianco? When did he relinquish leadership?
- What was the time line of leaders?
- If I missed any sections, what others sections did they have?
- What year did each section open and close?
- What happened with the Lakeview sections?