CaliforniaCity Stories

Compton, CA

The Compton Ghetto:

From a Suburb to the Home of Compton Gangs

Nicknamed Hub City, the Compton ghetto has for long been associated with popular culture from being mentioned in movies to producing world famous Hip Hop artist like Dr. Dre, Kendrik Lamar, and Ice Cube.

Compton is a city in Los Angeles county that sits just south of the actual city of Los Angeles after being founded during the late 1800s.


The Short Compton, California History

Before the 1950s, the city of Compton was predominantly white, but during the 1950s some of the first African-Americans moved into the city, a time after World War II when the city of Compton had its biggest boom and growth.

The first place African-Americans moved into was on the city’s West Side around Central and Rosecrans, which would later be the birthplace of the Piru’s.

compton ghetto compton gangs

The original Compton gangs Piru neighborhood, not far from the intersection of Central and Rosecrans.

The movement of African-Americans in Compton occurred after the US government stated that racially discriminated housing zones, where only a specific race can live and reside in a community, was unconstitutional.

Following the government’s decision, white flight slowly began to occur.

After the Watts Riots of the 1960s, the growth of the black population of Compton exploded as the city became predominantly black as many wanted to leave the poorer areas of South Central.

Around this time, all of the white families relocated into other parts throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan.

By the 1960s, the people of Compton elected their first black mayor to public office, during a time when the community was a middle class African-American community.


Short Background on Compton Gangs

After white flight in Compton, a new wave and movement in the community would eventually begin, an era that would later produce Compton gangs of the Piru’s and Compton Crips.

Compton gangs like Piru, who originally started as the Piru Crips but were rival with the Compton Crips which led to the change, expanded throughout the community while mostly being centered around Rosecrans Avenue.

The Piru’s, along with a few other old school gangs, were some of the main forces behind the formation of the Bloods due to the rival and disliking towards the Crips during the 1970s.

As the Crips formed on the East Side of South Central Los Angeles, the movement would eventually make its way down to the city of Compton.

compton ghetto compton gangs

The Carver Park neighborhood, home to Compton gangs of Carver Park Compton Crips.

With the first official Crip set in Compton being the Grandees, located in today’s Nutty Blocc neighborhood, Compton Crips expanded from off of Alondra into ‘hoods like Santana Blocc or Carver Park.

By the 1980s and 90s, the reputation of the city of Compton was widely known and well respected throughout the streets of California and around the country.

Today, much of the Compton ghetto has been overtaken by the Hispanic population, as the Mexican population has been increasing over the past few decades, especially on the east side of Compton.


Click to see more about Compton and communities of California.

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Covey, Herbert C. Crips and Bloods: a Guide to an American Subculture. Greenwood, 2015.

Hunt, Darnell M., and Ana-Christina Ramón. Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities. New York University Press, 2010.

Johnson, Robert Lee. Compton. Arcadia Pub., 2012.

Williams, Stanley Tookie. Blue Rage, Black Redemption: a Memoir. Simon & Schuster, 2007.