Short Story of…
The Chicago South Side Ghetto
The South Side Chicago Gangs
What began around 68th and Green in Englewood, during the 1960s, would eventually spread across the country as the Gangster Disciples have become the nation’s largest gang after Bloods and Crips.
Growth and development is the true identity of this nation with its expansion of communities and activities as there are locations in Cleveland, Memphis, Mississippi and other cities around the country.
Before expanding out of state, Gangster Disciples, leaded by Larry Hoover, would expand locally by helping to facilitate the Folk Nation, an alliance of other Chicago gangs, as expanding the Gangster Disciples into the Gangster Black Disciple Nation by linking with other local gangs.
Despite the negativity associate with Chicago gangs, Larry Hoover and the other leaders were able to bring together hundreds of young people throughout the South Side under one structure were many could somewhat benefit, something that this era and generation is missing.
While once being aligned with the Black Disciples to form the Black Gangster Disciples, the once well-structured organization was reduced during inner turmoil that led to the separation of the two major gangs, mostly while the former leaders were either dead or incarcerated.
A rise in neighborhood conflict, especially in places like Englewood, led to an increase of rivalry between Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples as the two would become sworn enemies, along with conflicts with other local South Side gangs.
Before Chicago Gangs
Before the rise of Chicago gangs on the South Side, there was only a small black presence on the city’s South Side, mostly around 95th and Halsted and an isolated community in the Roseland neighborhood.
Originally, the South Side was a place for the city’s white population, but after urban renewal of the city’s historic black community of Bronzeville as the placement of housing projects and the Dan Ryan (Interstate 90 & Interstate 94) displaced thousands of people.
By the 1960s, many were forced to relocated from Chicago’s first black community and reside in formally all-white neighborhoods of the South Side, starting in places like Englewood.
South Side Chicago Neighborhoods: Englewood
Englewood was once a famous community as 63rd Street was the heart of the community, expanding from Ashland to Halsted, with only a small African-American presence nearby in a dominated white section of Chicago.
As many white families were beginning to leave the area and the historic black community of Bronzeville in the Low Ends was reduced in size, due to the construction of the highway and housing projects, many people were forced to move into Englewood.
The black community would slowly expand from Halsted to Damen, between 59th Street and 71st Street, eventually making the entire Englewood area a predominantly black community by the 1970s.
Some might say that redlining, the process of forcing a group of people into a certain area and denying them proper services to help the community grow and substain, helped the decline of the Englewood neighborhood.
The streets of this Chicago South Side neighborhood dates back to the days of S. Green Street around Marquette and Halsted, the beginning of the Gangster Disciples that would later join one of Chicago’s biggest black gangs, the Black Disciples, and form the Black Gangster Disciples.
Gangster Disciples of No Luv City, 069, and 073 or Black Disciples of Lowe Life, Tay Town, and Lamron are just a small example of how active the Englewood neighborhood has became over the years.
South Side Chicago Neighborhoods: New City / Back of the Yards
New City or Back of the Yards was one of the first Mexican neighborhoods in the city, especially on the Chicago South Side as many found work in the stockyards, given the name of the neighborhood “Back Of The Yards”.
Unfortunately, the Stockyards eventually were close and the once mix neighborhood filled with different ethnic groups changed as the area became predominantly of Mexican descent, with African-Americans living between 51st and 55th (Garfield).
With a mix of different racial groups, some of the first gangs in the area was an all-white gang known as the Gaylords and a Hispanic gang called the Renegade Saints.
As the years passed and the Chicago gangs becoming more aligned with business and finances, together with white flight from the Chicago South Side, the Gaylords would later fade away from the neighborhood.
New City would later become known for areas of both black and Latino gangs like the Renegade Saints of Halo City, Gangster Disciples of Damenville, centered around Damen Avenue or the largest Black P. Stone neighborhood in the city, Moe Town located around Sherman Park.
South Side Chicago Neighborhoods: Auburn Gresham
As blacks and Latinos moved into the New City or Back of the Yards and Englewood neighborhoods, white families relocated and moved into Auburn Gresham, a large community bounded by 76th and 87th from Damen Avenue to Halsted.
As the black community grew and expanded further south, Auburn Gresham later became a large neighborhood with a majority African-American population as white flight led to white families to completely leave the South Side.
Auburn Gresham has been for generations a neighborhood where people either are affiliated with Gangster Disciples, especially around 79th with G Ville and Killa Ward, or Black P. Stones who are mostly around 83rd and 87th streets, other than the Terror Dome of 79th and Damen.
South Side Chicago Neighborhoods: 95th Street
The small stretch of 95th Street was once home to a number of gang affiliations like the Cobra Stones, Disciples, Racketeers, and the Imphs before the Black P. Stones acquired the majority of real estate.
Originally, the only reputable area was Princeton Park, an area home to the Lowden housing projects, but years later neighborhoods like Nateville or Rack Ctiy would also come into focus for neighborhoods along 95th Street.
Before Chicago gangs, a small number of black families who relocated from southern communities in states like Mississippi or Tennessee found homes near the intersection of 95th and Halsted, as early as the 1940s and 1950s.
South Side Chicago Neighborhoods: Roseland / Wild 100s
Given the name the “Wild Hundreds” for the amount of activity, this section of Chicago is a melting pot of gangs, mostly Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples but also Mickey Cobras, Four Corner Hustlers, Black P Stones and Vice Lords.
With neighborhoods like Trigga Town or RudeVille or GoonTown or the Snake Pit, the reputation and the name of the Wild Hundreds fits the areas persona as there is only a handful of blocks that are not active.
Long before any gang activity the Hundreds, which is mainly the Roseland neighborhood, the area started as a community that prohibited blacks from living or buying property anywhere in the neighborhood, other than a small section of Roseland that was designated for black families.
Not until around the 1970s, in some cases the 1960s, did the community begin to become a predominantly black neighborhood, especially as parts of Roseland were once known for being a famous shopping district for the local residents.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.