I was born in a neighborhood where gangs reigned supreme, and for the first 4 or 5 years of my life I looked up to local gangsters. The sets in my neighborhood in South Central were the Rollin 20’s, the Neighborhood Family, and the Black P-Stones, who all rocked the color red. Being the young historian that I was, I was fascinated by the history of these gangs. What I found out is that it all originated in Chicago, and then Bloods became something that had a Cali swag.
Later on in my life, I actually found myself living in the Windy City, and I realized that no city in America bangs harder than Chicago. The year was 1988, and every day my bus would drive by the El Rukns, aka Black P-Stones Rangers, on the way to work. It felt like the South Side was a war zone. This feature will not give any solutions to the gang problems that still ravage Chicago to this day, but will show you how these gangs have looked over the decades. Chicago’s gangster culture did not start with African Americans – all you have to do is look at how the MOB controlled this city—plus the White and Latino communities have been claiming sets in Chicago for decades. And don’t get me started about how politicians have been bleeding this city dry for decades…
Formed in 1973, Gaylords, C-Notes, PVP’s (counted as one), Jousters, and Chi-West. If memory serves, Chi-West hosted the meeting of the representatives (At location of North and Damon), and had some of their members standing guard in the shadows outside with crossbows. The UFO lasted into the 1980s, and other Greaser gangs joined the UFO, like the White Knights and Hell’s Devils. During the 1970s, the UFO was the largest North Side unity formed among greaser gangs at the time. A retired UFO member said, “The United Five Organization was so big that members had to wear white arm bands to identify themselves so that we would not be beating each other up by mistake.
In the year 1978, as the Folk and People alliances became established in prison, there was a unity already developed between the Latin Folks gangs on the north/northwest side of Chicago called the “United Latino Organization” (ULO). Which consisted of Spanish Cobras, YLO Cobras & Disciples, Maniac/Insane Campbell Boys, Latin Disciples (MLD), Latin Eagles, and Imperial Gangsters. ULO was established to combat the still rapidly growing Latin King population and the LKs allies under the UPK (Unknowns Players Kings). It was also established to combat the white gangs threatening them such as the UFO (United Fighting/Five Organization).
All throughout the 1980s, the ULO stood strong and united on the streets and under the pitchfork and they were also heavily united with other Folks near them. In 1991 as inter-alliance wars began sprouting up on the streets of Chicago, the Spanish Cobras and Maniac Latin Disciples began to not see eye to eye on drug territory issues. Both gangs were very powerful and were bumping heads, they were both also disagreeing with the Imperial Gangsters who were also growing quite powerful. Eventually, a three-way war ensued between IG, ISC, and MLDs. The Latin Eagles at first sided with the MLDs side of the argument and joined the Maniac Familia created by the MLDs. The MLDs and Latin Eagles (LE is no longer Maniac) carried on the pitchfork and so did other Maniac Familia gangs such as Milwaukee Kings, Latin Jivers, and Latin Lovers (MK, LJ, and LL are no longer maniac).
The other organization was the Insane Familia created by the Spanish Cobras, the Cobras kept unities with the Folks that went against Maniac such as Insane Dragons, Ashland Vikings, Orquestra Albany, and the Harrison Gents (HG is no longer Insane). The Imperial Gangsters started their own alliance called the “Almighty” family that they built with the Simon City Royals and the North Side Insane Popes, later Ambrose joined the alliance. With this complete division and the wars that resulted, ULO went extinct in 1991 on the streets.
Oldschool Chicago Gang Sweaters
Starting in the 1950’s and continuing through the 1990’s, gang sweaters were worn to represent gang membership. In the 1980’s, colors played an important part in representing a gang. Like in the 1988 movie “Colors” Gang members were willing to die for their colors. There were actually two types of gang sweaters worn by Chicago gang members. When a gang sweater puts emphasis on it’s darkest color, this is representing WAR. War sweaters were worn when the member was out gang banging. Party sweaters put emphasis on the lighter colors and were worn usually during parties/club events.