By Harry C. Alford

NNPA Columnist

As I have been looking at the phenomenon of street gangs in urban areas of our nation, there is none quite as unique as Chicago.  The “Windy City” has a myriad of large size gangs.  The structure is “tight” and there are so many large gangs that they have two distinct alliances.  The Folk Nation and the People Nation are two rival alliances.  Amongst the Folk Nation are the Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Imperial Gangsters, Insane Deuces, La Raza, Latin Disciples, Latin Dragons, Latin Eagles, Orchestra Albany, Party People, Spanish Cobras, Satan Disciples and Two Six.  The People Nation includes the Black P-Stones, Conservative Vice Lords, Four Corner Hustlers, Gaylords, Latin Brothers, Latin Counts, Latin Kings, Latin Pachucos, Mafia Insane Vice Lords, Travelling Vice Lords and the Undertaker Vice Lords.  The Black Gangsters, Black Souls, Lynchmen Sercaun Gangsters and Molotov Mafia are large gangs with no alliance.

The gangs referenced above are just the larger ones.  It is mind boggling how this city is structured in the gangster gang life (criminality).  Most have claims to certain neighborhoods.  In North Chicago, the Insane Deuces run the North Center area while the Black P-Stones are prevalent in the Rogers Park area.  In South Chicago we have the Conservative Vice Lords at Grand Crossing while the proper Southside has the Black P-Stones and Latin Dragons.  The Black P-Stones also rule South Shore and Woodlawn.  Far South Chicago has the Black P-Stones in just about every neighborhood.  Also roaming Far South are Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Molotov Mafia, Latin Counts and Lynchmen Secaun Gangsters.

Now let’s go to the Westside where there are Four Corner Hustlers, Mafia Insane Vice Lords, Travelling Vice Lords, Black Souls, Conservative Vice Lords, Latin Kings, Satan Disciples, Black Gangsters, Latin Kings and Two Six.  Northwest has the Gaylords, Latin Brothers, Latin Pachucos, Imperial Gangsters and Orchestra Albany.  Finally, there is Southwest with La Raza, Black P-Stones, Black Disciples, Latin Kings and Conservative Vice Lords.

One of the oldest gangs in Chicago is the Gaylords, AKA Almighty Gaylords.  They are a White group that started in the early 1950s.  They have five divisions structured by age.  During the 1960s,   they grew in impressive numbers with “sets” all over Chicago.  Their name comes from the Normandy, France  people (descendants of Vikings) who were called “Gaillards.”

Perhaps the most notorious gang is the Almighty Black P. Stone Nation, commonly known as Black P. Stone.  It was originally called the Blackstone Rangers.  The founders, Jeff Fort and Eugene Hairston started the group while they were being detained in a juvenile facility.  Youth was their focus until the 1960s when they evolved into a very violent and feared entity.  They renamed themselves the Black P. Stone Nation and became efficient in drug trafficking.

This gang could be very sly.  They convinced the Nixon Administration (1972) to award them a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce for $927,000.  President Nixon touted it as his implementation of capitalism into our blighted urban areas.  When it was found out that the gang bought weapons and ammunition with much of the money, Jeff Fort went off to prison.  Eugene Hairston was already sent up on drug charges.  Fort ran the operations of the gang from prison.  He got out in the early 1980s.  His ambition remained.  He was later arrested after meeting with representatives of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi to discuss plans for domestic terrorism.  He was then sentenced to 80 years.  Shortly after that he caught another rap for ordering a hit on a rival gang member, which added 75 more years to his incarceration.  He still has influence over this gang.

One of the largest Black street gangs in Chicago is the Gangster Disciples.  It started as a merger in the 1960s between David Barksdale of the Black Disciples and Larry Hoover of the Supreme Gangsters.  Their colors are black and blue.  It is common for members to wear athletic gear representing the Georgetown Hoyas or Duke Blue Devils.  They have 30,000 members in Chicago proper and another 20,000 elsewhere in the nation.

The second largest gang in Chicago is the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, AKA Conservative Vice Lords.  They have more than 35,000 members and is one of the founding members of the People Nation Alliance.   Their growth came from consolidating small gangs around the city.  They could be cunning also.  In 1970, they applied for a $275,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.  The grant was approved.  It took 10 years for the foundation to figure it out and seek prosecution for the sham.  Unlike most gangs who concentrate on drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, etc. this gang has expanded into mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, and money laundering.

This is a “taste” of Chicago gang life.  Next week I will reflect on my study of urban gang life and come up with some potential solutions.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.  Website: Email: