Chicago Gangs Aid In City Violence Control Effort

By: Sally Fitzgerald
(Daily Defender Staff Writer)
Tuesday, April 9, 1968

Four Chicago gangs were instrumental in much violence during the weekend’s rioting in this city, according to informed sources.

A spokesman for the Conservative Vice Lords, one of two Westside organizations, stated that, “ The Vice Lords, Inc., engaged in the violence, it was on their own.”

The leader, Bobby Gore, continued saying, “We were unable to get anti-riot literature out to the people in time to stop the violence, but many of our leaders were out trying to encourage children and youth to go home,” he said.

“We finally got to work and printed 3,500 sheets bearing the nonviolence message to our friends,’” said the spokesman.
The note distributed over many blocks said:

“Little Brothers and Sisters our Moses is DEAD.”

“But let’s not destroy our hopes or his dreams for equality. We realize, we as brothers and sisters who share your grief of this violent murder, that there isn’t too much we can ask of your personal feelings, but let last night be the last of this destruction.”

The statement also called on members of Congress to prove themselves and reminded the people that every position in the United States is just a job and that the people have the power to “Hire and Fire”.

Another Westside group, the Egyptian Cobras was instrumental in preventing massive damage to Bryant Elementary School, at 1355 S. Kedvale ave.
According to Maurice Boyce, a group of about 20 girls approached the school and urged students to walk out.

Another group also approached the school with intentions of breaking out windows and destroying property. The outside groups only had time to break a few windows before members of the Cobras had brought the situation under control.

According to Boyce, an employee of Commission on Youth Welfare who works with the group, the Cobras had promised the school officials to look after the building. “ As a result,” he said,” this is the best looking school in the area.”

On the Southside two black gangs abandoned vows of hatred in order to assist federal troops, National Guardsmen and police in containing violence in the area. The Blackstone Rangers and the Eastside Disciples, often opponents to the death, agreed to a temporary truce and offered their services to what has been in the past a common enemy, the law.
Approximately 350 Rangers and 500 Disciples met at the Midway Plaisance in front of the University of Chicago and agreed to a truce.

Dave Barksdale, leader of the Disciples, said the gangs agreed to the truce “because of the way the police were handling the situation.”

“We’re tired of people messing up our neighborhood. We’re tired of people getting killed.”

Barksdale said they united to stop the rioting, observed the 7pm curfew and helped police and troops in whatever ways they could.

“We can control and police our people better than the police and the army,” a Disciple said.

Perhaps because of this concerted action by Negro youth gangs, at nightfall, Sunday, the sounds of destruction that filled Chicago during the past few days were not heard.
Instead there was “clear the streets or be placed under arrest” booming from police bullhorns or the quieter plea of a weary policeman, “Let’s go home.”