research not stereotypes

Gangs in South Chicago

Gangs in South Chicago have long been deeply involved with their neighborhood. They were gangs — they fought for territory, they made money any way they could, and they enforced racial boundaries. But that is not the whole story.

Gangs were closely tied to Catholic churches and youth groups. The priest had a role in keeping the peace. The kids in South Deering, for example, carried groceries for older resdients, and mowed lawns and cleaned up. Gangs then were about more than just making money through drugs or illegal means.They helped a community to overcome racial barriers by creating positive behavior in the neighboorhood.

Gangs were involved in their community to protect it from outsiders. Each gang had its own role in the South Chicago neighborhood and its own territory in which they fought for. The community befriended them and cooperated with the gangs in return for peace.

In order to learn more about gangs in this community, Nadia Perez , a student from the University of Illinois-Chicago interviewed South Chicago gang members from the 1960s and 1980s.

To the Study


South Chicago's Steel Mills

South Chicago attracted workers from Eastern Europe to Mexico to its steel mills. Like other industrial towns in the US, the decline of industry has meant hard times for South Chicago. Gangs, though, have thrived in South Chicago for most of the 20th century.

A History of South Chicago's Spanish Vice Lords


Links to more Information and Images on South Chicago

Chicago Historical Society

Basic Information on South Chicago
Northeastern University research site

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