Taylor Jousters

Founded Founded in 1960 in or near Near West Side
Founding story

Founded in the Near West Side in Little Italy near Taylor and Oakley

Affiliations ;
Colors White, Light blue, and Dark blue
Color usage Light blue and white 1960?-1967; Dark blue and light blue 1967-1997
Primary ethnicities White (Italian)
Symbols Knight's Helmet, Cross, 3 Slashes, Ku Klux Klansman, and Swastika
Symbol usage

Cross with four slashes on top, 1971-1997 klansman and swastika

Status Extinct

The Taylor Jousters started 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 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 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 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 rest of the Italian gangs began absorbing into the 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.  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.

In the year 1967 the Jousters took over the colors of light blue and dark blue from the Dukes and by then the Dukes were completely extinct.

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.

In the year 1970 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.

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 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.  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.

The Jousters also made their way into the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood at the intersection of Belden and Loral just two blocks away from Hanson ParkHanson 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.

By the very early 1980s the Jousters were at their peak of success especially now that they conquered Hanson Park thanks to the leadership of “Tiny.” but this uplift was short lived.  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 the year 1985 the Vice Lords and Black Gangster Disciples opened their doors to kids of all races to join which definitely brought a lot of north side and west side youths into those gangs and in general at that point in time white youths were either joining Latino or black gangs in the city, but the vast majority of white youths were all around moving out of the city including many Taylor Jouster gang members and members of other white gangs.

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.

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 ParkManiac 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.  In 1997 a decision needed to be made to either ally up with the Latin Kings and share the park or just completely disband, the vote by leadership was in favor of disbanding and the Jousters completely left Hanson Park as the Latin Pachucos became the dominating gang in the park.  The Jousters also closed down their Brighton Park section my the mid 1990s.  The Jousters now went completely extinct and even closed their only suburban section in Villa Park, the Jousters did leave behind a legacy as tough stone greasers.

Please send in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pics!

Questions:

  1. What happened to Pete Bianco? When did he relinquish leadership?
  2. What was the time line of leaders?
  3. If I missed any sections, what others sections did they have?
  4. What year did each section open and close?
  5. What happened with the Lakeview sections?