The Short San Antonio Ghetto Story
History of San Antonio Gangs, Urban Communities and more.
The story of the San Antonio ghetto starts with the history of East Side San Antonio and goes into the growth of the San Antonio Hispanic population and the development of San Antonio gangs.
East Side San Antonio
East Side San Antonio has always been historically known as the side of town for the San Antonio black population that started during the late 1800s as people moved from small rural towns of Texas.
Over the years, the San Antonio ghetto of the East Side would become well known for San Antonio neighborhoods like Denver Heights, East Terrace, Wheatley Courts, Croccett Blocc, the Stixx, a small neighborhood that is officially known as Wheatley Heights and a few other communities of the East Side.
Denver Heights was an historic black community on the East Side that was one of the city’s first location for the San Antonio black population, dating back to the late 1800s and serving as the once center for the city’s black culture.
Denver Heights had its moments of good and bad days, but in San Antonio’s early days employment opportunities were not as easy to come by as most of the black community worked in the service industry, either as maids or servants for the city’s elite, whether at someone’s personal property or for hotels and restaurants.
Segregation during the early part of the 1900s led to the African American community to be controlled on where San Antonio’s black population could live and what places of business could they attend.
Not until the 1940s and 1950s did the black community began to move out of the Denver Heights neighborhood and relocated into other East Side communities.
Wheatley Courts, which was once located off of N. Walters Street, was one of the first communities African Americans relocated into, but today the community has been completely transformed after being demolished and rebuilt into a more modern-day housing complex, which began around 2014.
Outside of East Side, the San Antonio black population of both working and middle class families are located on the diverse Northeast Side in areas like Camelot, Converse or Sunrise as their presence has been around since the 1980s and 90s.
Gentrification is occurring in every city but in San Antonio parts of the East Side seemed to be the sight of the rebuilding process with the former housing complexes of Wheatley Courts, Sutton Homes and East Terrace being rebuilt and the influx of newcomers into the most attractive East Side neighborhood of Denver Heights.
With gentrification of the East Side, the most important question is where the black community of the East Side will reside in the future after generations of calling this side of San Antonio their home and a movement to transform the community.
San Antonio Hispanic Population
Obviously, with the state of Texas neighboring the country of Mexico there has been a large Hispanic community, preferably people of Mexican and at times Central American descent, for generations, if not since the beginning of Texas’ existence.
Today, the city of San Antonio is dominated by its Hispanic population, which is located on all sides of town, but the heart of the Mexican community is mainly on the West Side and South Side.
West Side San Antonio, which has to be considered as the original community for San Antonio’s Hispanic population and the largest side of the city with the bulk of the city’s housing projects like Menchaca Courts, Cassiano Homes and the Apache Courts, which were all built during the 1940s and 50s.
The South Side is like the West Side as far as the community’s demographics with the San Antonio Hispanic population being the majority other than diverse neighborhoods of southwest San Antonio in places like Valley Hi or Five Palms.
Currently, the Hispanic community of the San Antonio ghetto are slowly moving into other areas of the city in the northeast and southwest sections as the national trend of people either voluntarily or forcefully relocating from their original community to more suburban like areas.
The Short San Antonio Gangs Story
San Antonio gangs like the Mexican Mafia, the Bloods and Crips and number of other Mexican gangs have roamed the city since the 1980s and 90s, during and after the days of racial tension between the city’s Mexican and white populations.
With instances like the Klik vs. Klan rivalry, San Antonio gangs during the 1980s and 1990s gained a reputation throughout the state of Texas as this era was one of the most vicious times for the city.
As street activity was escalating, San Antonio’s urban neighborhoods slowly began to embrace and somewhat adopt the Los Angeles and California culture, whether it was the arrival of Bloods and Crips or the embracement of the Chicano gang culture.
On the East Side there has been moments of rivalries between certain neighborhoods and certain housing projects as the affiliations of the Bloods and Crips had once escalated the tension on the city’s East Side, but as gentrification removed communities and their people gang and street activity has calmed.
Even though the East Side is mostly the city’s black community, there were once East Side Hispanic gangs that were formerly located around Fort Sam Houston, a much smaller area compared to the other section of the East Side.
On the West Side within the Hispanic ‘hoods and among the Hispanic gangs, a wave that pioneered the true streets of San Antonio as the West Side is the largest urban area and it holds the majority of the city’s housing projects.
As the city claims that there is a gang problem in San Antonio, especially on the East Side, they increased efforts to combat the problem with harsher sentences and tougher laws have led to indictments and arrests on multiple neighborhoods.
Similar to California, gang injunctions have targeted entire neighborhoods, while authorities may say it helps with the violence in the area, but they target violent offenders and non-violent offenders, meaning people who are not a threat at times fall victim to arrests.
Before today’s affiliations, violence and street activity reached its peak during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s as old school San Antonio gangs like Damage INC, Suicidal Locos, Young Country, PowerHeads, WSV Kings and many more roamed the city.
What should be noted is that Hispanic gangs have been around for generations, generations that can be dated back to the 1950s, if not earlier with former gangs like the Los Cocos as the majority were based on the West Side.
Currently, there is still street activity and San Antonio gangs still roam specific communities, but the city is in an entire new era as violence and gang problems have dropped from previous generations.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.