The Blackstone Rangers

The Blackstone Rangers in the 1960s were Chicago's most famous gang. Started by a dozen 12-15 year old kids from Blackstone Avenue in Woodlawn, the Rangers have been led from the beginning by Jeff Fort. Fort has insisted from the 1960s on that the Rangers are an "organization" not a gang.

Jeff Fort testifying before the McClellan Committee investigating the Rangers and The Woodlawn Organization (TWO).
Picture from UWM Magazine.

The Rangers were also in the forefront of trying to organize gang truces in the 1960s

The story of the Blackstone Rangers has been written by Rev. John R. Fry, Locked Out Americans: A Memoir, published in 1973 by Harper & Row, New York. Timuel Black also recounts the story of the evolution of the Rangers from school boys to gang in his remarks to the Chicago Gang History Project.


Blackstone was the first Chicago gang or organization to form "clubs" in other cities, setting up chapters in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Gary by 1967.

The Rangers would be renamed the Black P. Stone Nation and then the El Rukns, as Fort and the Ranger leadership became Muslims. The "Grand Temple" was the central meeting place for the El Rukns, and was raided by police and demolished.


The El Rukns would evolve and were seriously crippled with the arrest of Jeff Fort for conspiracy in connection with Libyan terrorism.

Lance Williams gives a critical overview of the history of the Blackstone Rangers.