The History of the Gangster
by Rod Emery
The Black Gangster Disciple Nation was born out of two organizations. In the beginning, there were two separate organizations: The Disciple Nation, whose President was David Barksdale, and the Gangster Nation, whose President was Larry Hoover. There were many branches of both organizations.
Everybody in the City of Chicago who as a Disciple or
a Gangster was under the leadership of David Barksdale or Larry Hoover,
respectively. Up until that point in our history, no one in an organization
had ever been referred to as a “King.”
In the years 1963 and 1964, two southside street gangs started to take a form that would eventually evolve into two of the most powerful street organizations in Chicago. They were the Blackstone Rangers and the Black Disciples. During the reign of these two organizations, the Blackstone Rangers were believed to be the most organized because they held national recognition, support from prominent business men, entertainers, and politicians. They entered into business ventures with the late Sammy Davis Jr. and had the support of W. Clement Stone, a self-made millionaire and business entrepreneur. However, one of the most impressive displays of political power and community importance of a street organization came when Jeff Fort, leader of the Blackstone Rangers, was invited to the late Richard Nixon’s inauguration.
The Blackstone Rangers were originally founded by Eugene Hairston and Jeff Fort. Under Jeff Fort’s leadership they prospered and changed their organization’s name to “the Black P. Stone Nation” and eventually they became known as “the El Rukns.”
David Barksdale, the leader of the Black Disciple Nation, had an organization that was comparable to the Blackstone Rangers. Although he did not receive the same amount of national recognition, he was well known through the City of Chicago and was respected by his friends and feared by his foes. At the time, David Barksdale was the most revered street gang organizer in Chicago.
On the other hand, amongst these two major street organizations on the southside of Chicago were the Gangster: A young street organization striving for a place of high recognition and respect in the City of Chicago. The Blackstone Rangers and the Black Disciple Nation were vying to bring the Gangsters in as part of their respective organizations. Jeff Fort, as leader of the Black P. Stone nation, brought Larry Hoover an offer to incorporate the Gangsters as part of the Black P. Stone Nation’s structure as Gangster Stones and offered Hoover the less favorable position as an ambassador within the Black P. Stone Nation. In Hoover’s mind, such a merger would swallow up the Gangster identity. Therefore Hoover declined.
In January 1969, David Barksdale, leader of eh Disciple Nation, developed a broader vision about the mission and purpose of street organizations (commonly referred to as “street gangs”). In essence, David was tired of the senseless violence and mayhem that was destroying the black community because of street gangs’ warfare. He struggled with the idea of how to bring an end to the constant gang warfare that existed between the Disciples and the Gangsters. He realized that such a state of existence would only bring about self-destruction in the lives of ghetto youth. Therefore, he made an offer that Hoover could not refuse. David proposed merging the two organizations with Hoover sharing equal power. From that merger, THE BLACK GANGSTER DISCIPLE NATION was born. This began the era of “Kings.”
Never before in the history of Chicago had gang leaders been known as “Kings.” Looking back, it was an ambiguous situation, but it was a necessary compromise to stop the gang wars and save the lives of members on both sides. David Barksdale was wise enough to know that by bringing Hoover an offer to share the throne of gang leadership as two Kings with equal power, Hoover would accept and thereby end the bloodshed between the two organizations. David was willing to give up so much because he had a broader vision and a creatively positive direction for the new organizations. Such were the circumstances surrounding the birth of “THE BLACK GANGSTER DISCIPLE NATION.”
The merger was uplifting for both organizations. It allowed many negative energies to turn into positive energies and together the two unified organizations became active in community affairs. They opened and operated a gas station, two restaurants, community clean-up programs and enforced school truancy policies. The Englewood Business men’s Association worked hand in hand with our organization for the betterment of the community. The Black Gangster Disciples were given a security contract for Wilson Junior College, located on 70th and Stewart Streets in the Englewood district. Our members were given jobs in the 63rd Street shopping concourse as security guards, salespersons and they also worked in the neighborhood bank. One of our members still holds the same job he acquired during this period.
The Business Men’s Association assisted us in obtaining centers
for the organization. The first to open was on 63rd and Normal Streets
and 61st and Halstad Streets, out of which David Barksdale operated a
free breakfast program for the community. Another center was located
at 6th and Halsted Streets, out of which Larry Hoover operated a free
lunch program to feed the needy children in the community.
Mysteriously, all major street organizations had drugs made readily available to them for mass distribution throughout the black community. Of course, drugs had been in the black community all the time, but with very limited access. Then all of a sudden, as we matured into a power to be reckoned with, our membership began to receive highly lucrative offers (from here to fore unknown sources), to package and distribute drugs for a living. After becoming so positively involved in the social and political aspects of our communities, drugs were introduced to shut us up politically and appease us financially. However, drugs also ended the positive direction of our organization’s movement. In that sense, the powers that be could not have (been) happier. As an organization, we had fallen into their trap and they closed the door and swallowed the key.
Shortly before the flood of drugs into the black community, there was
a spirit of camaraderie, a sense of belonging which fostered love (our
1st principle), honesty and a feeling of being a part of something great,
our organization. Many problems were solved in our neighborhoods because
everyone looked upon each other as part of the same family. Drug dealers
and users were initially frowned upon. Nevertheless, with the huge and
lucrative influx of drugs, suddenly drug dealers were success stories;
the role models for instant riches; representatives of “the good
The “BLUEPRINT” will not only enrich our lives, but it is a progressive step for many of us in the return to a positive direction.