Good day loyal readers –
On my about the site page (https://chicagoganghistory.com/about/) I had shared the reason for my interest in Chicago street gangs and generally why I created this website. That was a page for you to get to know me and why I am drawn to this research. For this page I want to share more of the benefits of this site and the overall mission I am striving for.
This is a living website meaning it is constantly changing. I am not really referring to a changing layout, I am more referring to the information in this site is constantly changing. As I get new information of various gangs, neighborhoods, projects etc…I go in and update that page with the new information. This site will continue to undergo changes over time especially now that I am getting in contact with more guys than ever before. If you read some of my pages a few months ago or a couple years ago and think you got it down what I wrote I suggest you take another look at those pages because I can almost guarantee there has been some changes if not a complete overhaul of new information.
I’ve talked to a lot of guys that lived the life on the streets and many times I get told right off the bat that they sat back and laughed at much of what I wrote because it was very flawed and perhaps very inaccurate. I have been told by some that they have sat back for a few years just laughing about it all as I strive for the true histories. I am very grateful those men finally contacted me to set me straight and we ended up having marvelous conversations about the streets and they got a chance to see I am not just some clown that has no respect for the truth.
Please don’t take it the wrong way if you read a nation’s history and see it as incorrect of if info is missing, please understand that at the time you are reading it that way, I truly have no further information or perhaps I misunderstood what someone told me long ago. Please kindly send me an email provided on the contact page and let me know what is incorrect or missing and we will discuss it and perhaps make changes. I love making changes and getting things right and am open to talk about it. If you are an avid follower that rereads the pages over and over you can see the changes that keep unfolding over time painting a more and more colorful picture about how everything went down in the past.
My overall goal is to preserve history, Chicago gang history. Al Capone and the Italian Outfit have had their spot light since the inception of the Outfit and now I think it’s time for the street gangs to get the recognition, no not for the purpose of promoting gang activity, it is for the purpose of showing the world just how historically significant these organizations are to Chicago communities and how they ever have strong ties to the community.
The general public looks at Chicago gangs as just criminal organizations of killers, but what the world does not see is the activism, the pride, the morality of the ways of old. The organizations that are currently active may be nations of killers and drug dealers, however, they very often didn’t start that way. They were groups of kids looking to survive and fighting for their right to hang out in large groups and have parties and claim their neighborhood as their own. It is true that in Chicago, you can grow up not needing to be in a gang. If you hang out with just yourself or maybe a friend here and there or if you just have several acquaintances you can get by without joining a gang, but what if you end up with 10 close friends? You are a kid growing up and found a small crew and you all want to hang out and play sports, drink booze, hang with girls or whatever until you get noticed. You get noticed by the neighborhood gangs because you are part of a big clique or pals that attract the girls and draw crowds so the gangs get jealous. You have two choices, you can dump your friends and be a loner and not be much of a target or your other choice is to keep your love and loyalty for your friends and fight alongside them against the gangs that victimize you. Many guys chose to keep their pals and fight for their right to hang with their friends and this is when a gang was created. In the city of Chicago, gangs almost always pry on groups of kids that hang out because they want them to submit to the gang life. They want to see these cliques either break up or join them and if neither of those things happen they get violent. This is something that has been repeated over history, a group of kids hang out and keep getting victimized by others. You can read over my histories and you will see the same theme over and over involving bullies and intimidation.
Many of the gangs of Chicago rose up from oppression. Perhaps they were black in white neighborhoods, or Puerto Rican in white neighborhoods or perhaps they were white left in a neighborhood that became majority black or Hispanic. In Chicago history when one became part of the minority in any neighborhood it began an oppression as it became hard to walk across the neighborhood or go to the corner store or even hard to cross the street because most of the neighborhood doesn’t like you and doesn’t want you there. Perhaps the neighborhood doesn’t want to change or maybe that neighborhood has changed so much that those that remain no longer fit and will need to gather with others that are not part of the change so they can fight back. Gangs formed not only to battle with other groups of youths but to also protest together for better treatment. When the city built the University of Illinois Chicago in the mid-1960s, Vice Lords, Egyptian Cobras and several west side gangs ventured down to the construction sites with picketed signs in protest as they protested for all the families in the neighborhood about to be unjustly uprooted from their homes. This is just one of many examples where the gangs of the past fought for the neighborhood and helped the people. Why do you think so many gang crimes happened back then that went unreported? Because first of all it was gang on gang violence and second of all it was because the neighborhood often had respect for the gang members and even allowed them to hide in their basements or attics when the police were chasing the gang members. You show respect you get respect which is a great honorable side to what these organizations were built upon. When a member of the C-Notes was brutally beaten by the police then dropped off in rival Ashland Viking neighborhood to suffer more at the hands of the rival gang, the Vikings showed empathy for the young man and let him walk home unharmed because they understood the injustice and had been through the same thing with CPD being beaten for hours in a jail cell or interrogation room.
This respect, pride and honor has died considerably within the gangs of today as now money has become the center of membership and the solo motivator for violence. Greed has divided organizations into rival factions and severed alliances with other gangs as the “EBK” or “Everybody killer” attitude has settled in deep. Greed has taken over and sterilized the streets into cold-blooded killer zones of young gang members that come out just to shoot then run back into hiding. The streets used to covered with beautifully painted murals and you could see 100 or more guys standing under the street lights wearing colorful gang sweaters or personally made T-shirts. Now that the drugs dominated, the colors have faded away from the walls and from those that gather on the streets. When they do gather it becomes a scary unpredictable scene for many people in the neighborhood as many times those not in gangs are subject to harassment, this type of behavior was often condemned in the decades past. Most of the time you won’t even see anyone hanging on the block and will only hear the gunfire after someone is shot down.
My mission here is to bring those old days and old ways back to life with pictures and the story of how these nations were created. It is important for the world to see where it all comes from and the events that helped build these nations to become permanent entities on these streets. We see gangs created in the 1950s, 60s and 70s that are still active. The name still lives after all these decades which is something to marvel but there is a deep reason why these gangs last like they do. There has been much support over the years to keep these organizations flourishing. It was hard work for the original generations that had to fight for the cause and establish organizations of well respected men and women that would eventually grow into family men and women. To this day many men out there will still claim to be part of the organization even though they do not gang bang and live private lives. This proves there is more to this than just a criminal element that the world tends to only recognize. The sweaters, the emblems, the colors are always honored in the hearts of tens of thousands of older Chicagoans that once in a while suit up in their sweaters and take pictures with their friends while having a laugh and some beers as they reminisce about old times.
My mission is to keep building the most accurate portrayal of Chicago gang history without dipping into the current affairs much as that is a world I don’t recognize or care to dig into. My goal is to report on the past, back in the 19th and 20th centuries about how it was and how each nation came to be. Please don’t sit back and laugh or get angry if I have some information wrong instead help me out if you have the time and please email me to give me the lowdown on how things really were. I don’t really take a lot of info from rivals as I learned in the past some guys will give false info on their enemies to make their history look bad, I don’t want to get crossed up in that.
Please understand I had to start somewhere with all these histories. In the beginning all I had was internet research, looking up articles, court cases or joining forums listening and interpreting what others were saying. Not so much anymore, but in the past I even needed to use some information from that old Chicagomobs.com site for some historical info just to get started on some of these pages. Over time I have been corrected on so much and have since spoken to many guys that were key players or even founders of organizations that were able to help me build the real story of how these clubs formed and developed. This is all history and history is cool. This is not a site for glorifying violence but I will definitely still show how violent this stuff can become as I talk about bloody court cases etc…This is a major work in progress and I hope one day to have everything all correct.
Pictures are worth a million words and I want to post old pictures of graffiti, murals, reppin pics or even current ones of older members with sweaters on. This is truly the best way to capture this ugly but fascinating history. You can go ahead and keep sending them to individual Facebook groups but those pics will just be posted and be bumped up for a day or two but will seen trickle down into a forgotten archive. I’m not saying for you to not send them anything, what I am saying is please send me some copies as well so I can post them up to be alive and on the front page as long as the site stays alive. I am thankful for the many pictures I have received over time but some pages still need much if not anything for those organizations.
I look forward to hearing from you and I thank you for continuing to read!