The reason I have chosen this subject is because not so many people are aware of what’s going on between those two gangs. There are more gangs who are sometimes involved in this war, such as MS-13 (Florence 13) and the KKK (Ku Klux Klan), but the arguments with these groups aren’t half as worse as the war between the Bloods and the Crips. The MS 13 is a Mexican gang. They are the one of the most dangerous gangs in the whole world, sais the FBI. They mostly operate in Mexico, but also in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and in Nicaragua. In the US they operate in states as Texas and California. The Ku Klux Klan is a group of people who are very racial against outsiders. They mostly hate black people (à Bloods and Cribs), because they weren’t happy about the decision back in the days that all black people were free. But the do not only hate black people, they also hate other people with a color, people who are anti-catholic and Jews. Sometimes these people get killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan. But as I was saying, the conflicts with these groups aren’t half as bas as the conflicts between the Bloods and the Cribs. Everyday people die because of these conflicts. Also everyday more and more people become members of these groups. The two groups operate especially in the West coast and in the South coast, mostly in Los Angeles and Compton. First I’m going to give you some information about The Crips, than I’m going to give you some information about The Bloods.
TheCrips(Community Revolution In Progress) are a primarily, but not exclusively,African Americangang. They were founded inLos Angeles, Californiain 1971 by Raymond WashingtonandStanley Williams.
File:Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams mugshot.jpgStanley “Tookie” Williams met Raymond Lee Washington in 1969, and the two decided to unite their local gang members from the west and east sides ofSouth Central Los Angelesin order to battle neighboring street gangs. Most of the members were very young.Some of them weren’t even 18 years old yet. The most of them were African American, but there were also Mexican people who joined there group.
Stanley Tookie Williams(December 29, 1953 – December 13, 2005) was born inNew Orleans,Louisiana andwas one of the two leaders of the Crips. In 1979 he was condemned of four murders that he committed during robberies and he went to prison for the rest of his life. In jail, he write many books about his live and other things, like books including anti-gang and violence literature.
Tookie Williams was asked to help the police with the investigation to get the criminals of his gang, but he refused to help and was involved with many attacks on guards, tried to escape a couple, but there wasn’t any evidence that he planned this. In 1993, Williams began making changes in his behavior, and became an anti-gang activist while onDeath Row inCalifornia. He renounced his gang affiliation and apologized for his role in founding the Crips. He also co-wrote children’s books and participated in efforts intended to prevent youths from joining gangs.A biographical TV-movie entitledRedemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Storywas made in 2004, and featuredJamie Foxxas Williams.
On December 13, 2005, Williams was executed bylethal injectionafterclemencyand a four-week stay of execution were both rejected byGovernorArnold Schwarzenegger, amidst debate over thedeath penaltyand whether Williams’ anti-gang advocacy in prison represented genuine atonement. Williams was the second inmate in California to be executed in 2005.
The original name for the alliance was “Cribs”, a name that was chosen from a list with many options and chosen unanimously from three final choices, which included the Black Overlords, and the Assassins. Cribs was chosen to reflect the young age of the majority of the gang members. The name “Cribs” turned into the name “Crips” when gang members began carrying around canes to display their “pimp” status. People in the neighborhood then began calling them cripples, or “Crips” for short.ALos Angeles Sentinelarticle in February 1972 referred to some members as “Crips” (for cripples).The name had no political, organizational, cryptic, oracronymicmeaning. Williams, in his memoir, further discounted claims that the group was a spin-off of theBlack Panther Partyor formed for a community agenda, the name “depicted a fighting alliance against street gangs—nothing more, nothing less”, Williams wrote.Washington, who attended Fremont High School, was the leader of the East Side Crips, and Williams, who attended Washington High School, led the West Side Crips.
Williams recalled that a blue bandanna was first worn by Crips founding member Buddha, as a part of his color-coordinated clothing of blue Levi’s, a blue shirt, and dark blue suspenders. A blue bandanna was worn in memorium to Buddha after he was shot and killed on February 23, 1973, which eventually became the color of blue associated with Crips.
The Crips became popular throughout southernLos Angelesas more youth gangs joined; at one point they outnumbered non-Crip gangs by 3 to 1, sparking disputes with non-Crip gangs, including the L.A. Brims, Athens Park Boys, the Bishops, The Drill Company, and the Denver Lanes. By 1971 the gang’s notoriety had spread across Los Angeles.
Initially Crips leaders did not occupy leadership positions, but were recognized as leaders because of their personal charisma and influence. These leaders gave priority to expanding the gang’s membership to increase its power. By 1978, there were 45 Crips gangs, called sets, operating inLos Angeles. The gang became increasingly violent as they attempted to expand their turf.
By the early 1980s the gang was heavily involved with drug trade.Some of these Crips sets began to produce and distributePCP(phencyclidine) within the city. They also began to distributemarijuanaandamphetaminein Los Angeles. In the early 1980s Crips sets began distributing crack cocaine in Los Angeles. The huge profits resulting fromcrack cocainedistribution induced many Crips members to establish new markets in other cities and states. In addition, many young men in other states adopted the Crips name and lifestyle. As a result of these two factors, Crips membership increased throughout the 1980s, making it one of the largest street gang associations in the country.In 1999, there were at least 600 Crips sets with more than 30,000 members transporting drugs in theUnited States.
The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States of America. Crips has over 800 sets with 30,000 to 35,000 members and associate members, including more than 13,000 members in Los Angeles. The states with the highest estimated number of Crips sets areCalifornia,Missouri,OklahomaandTexas. Membership typically consists of young African American men, with members beingwhite,HispanicandAsian The gang is known to be involved inmurders, robberies, anddrugdealing, among many othercriminalpursuits. The gang is known for its gang members’ use of the colorbluein their clothing. The Crips are publicly known to have an intense and bitter rivalry with theBloodsand other little feuds with othergangs.Crips have been documented in theU.S. military, found in bases in the United States and abroad.
There is a movie about the creator of the Crips, Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams
The Bloods gang was formed initially to compete against the influence of theCripsinLos Angeles.The origin of the Bloods and their rivalry with the Crips dates to the 1970s, where thePirusstreet gang, originally a set, or faction, of the Crips,broke off during an internal gang war, and allied with other smaller gangs to found the gang that would eventually become known as the Bloods.At the time, Crips sets outnumbered Bloods sets by three to one. To assert their power despite this difference in numbers, Bloods sets became increasingly violent, especially against rival Crips members.The Pirus are therefore considered to be the original founders of the Bloods.During the rise ofcrack cocaine, the gang’s focus shifted to drug production. Bloods sets operate independently of each other, and are currently located in almost all States.Blood sets on the East Coast are often seen as affiliated with theUnited Blood Nation, a gang which originated inRikers Island.
The United Blood Nation, simply called the Bloods, formed in 1993, within the New York City jail system on Rikers Island’s GMDC (George Mochen Detention Center), sometimes called C 73. GMDC was used to segregate problem inmates from the rest of the detention center. Prior to this time period, the Latin Kings were the most prevalent and organized gang in the NYC jail system. TheLatin Kings, with mostlyHispanicmembers, were targeting African American inmates with violence. These African American inmates, organized by some of the more violent and charismatic inmates, formed a protection group which they called the United Blood Nation. This United Blood Nation, which was actually a prison gang, was emulating the Bloods street gangs in Los Angeles, California. Several of the leaders of this recently created prison gang formed eight original Blood sets to recruit in their neighborhoods across New York City.
By 1996, thousands of members of the Blood street gang were establishing themselves as a formidable force among gangs and continued a steady drive for recruitment. At this time, the Bloods were more violent than other gangs but much less organized. Numerous slashings (razor blade or knife attacks) were reported during robberies and discovered to be initiations into the Bloods. This Blood in ritual became the trademark for the Bloods. Bloods recruited throughout the East Coast.
Bloods refers to a loosely structured association of smaller street gangs, known as “sets,” which has adopted a common gang culture. Each set has its own leader and generally operates independently from the others.
Most Bloods members are African American males, although some sets have recruited female members as well as members from other races and ethnic backgrounds. Members range in age from early teens to mid-twenties, however some hold leadership positions into their late twenties and occasionally thirties.
There is no known national leader of the Bloods but individual Bloods sets have a hierarchical leadership structure with identifiable levels of membership. These levels of membership indicate status within a gang. A leader, typically an older member with a more extensive criminal background, runs each set. A set leader is not elected but rather asserts himself by developing and managing the gang’s criminal enterprises through his reputation for violence and ruthlessness and through his personal charisma. The majority of set members are called “Soldiers,” who are typically between the ages of 16 and 22. Soldiers have a strong sense of commitment to their set and are extremely dangerous because of their willingness to use violence both to obtain the respect of gang members and to respond to any person who “disrespects” the set. “Associates” are not full members, but they identify with the gang and take part in various criminal activities. To the extent that women belong to the gang, they are usually associate members and tend to be used by their male counterparts to carry weapons, hold drugs, or prostitute themselves to make money for their set.
Recruitment is often influenced by a recruitee’s environment. Bloods recruit heavily among school-age youth in predominantly poor African American communities. Gang membership offers youth a sense of belonging and protection. It also offers immediate gratification to economically disadvantaged youth who view the trappings of gang life: gold jewelry, cash, expensive sports clothing.
The Gang symbol of theBloods, as the sign reads the word “blood”
Bloods members identify themselves through various gang indicators such as colors, clothing, symbols, tattoos, jewelry, graffiti, language, and hand signs. The Bloods gang color is red. They like to wear sports clothing, including team “Starter” jackets that show their gang color. Some of their favorite teams include the San Francisco Forty Niners, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Chicago Bulls. They are also known to wear Dallas Cowboys clothing, whose logo contains a five-pointed star.
The most commonly used Bloods symbols include the number “5,” the five pointed star, and the five pointed crown. These symbols are meant to show the Bloods’ affiliation with the People Nation, a large coalition of affiliates created to protect alliance members within the federal and state prison systems. These symbols may be seen in the tattoos, jewelry, and clothing that gang members wear as well as in gang graffiti, which is used by the Bloods to mark their territory. Many graffiti include gang name, nicknames, declaration of loyalty, threats against rival gangs, or a description of criminal acts in which the gang has been involved. Bloods graffiti might also include the word “Piru” which refers to the fact that the first known Bloods gang was formed by individuals from Piru Street inCompton, California.
Finally, Bloods graffiti might include rival gang symbols (particularly those of the Crips) that are drawn upside down. This is meant as an insult to the rival group and its symbols. Bloods members also have a unique slang. Bloods greet each other using the word “Blood” and often avoid using words with the letter “C.” Finally, Bloods use hand signs to communicate with one another. Hand signs may be a singular movement, like the American Sign Language letter “B,” or a series of movements using one or both hands for more complex phrases. United Blood Nation (UBN) or East Coast Bloods initiates often receive a dog-paw mark, represented by three dots often burned with a cigarette, on their right shoulder. Other UBN symbols include a bulldog and a bull.
Alliances and rivals
Bloods consider themselves allies with members of thePeople Nationand rivals of all gangs associated with the Folk Nation gang alliance. These alliances were established in the 1980s to protect alliance members within the federal and state prison systems. The People Nation alliance includes Black Peace Stones, Cobra Stones, Insane Popes, Gaylords, Future Stones, Insane Unknown, King Cobras, Latin Counts, Latin Dragons,Latin Kings, Latin Pachucos, Latin Saints, Spanish Lords, and Vice Lord Nation. TheFolk Nationalliance members (and thus, Bloods rivals) include the Bloods’ biggest rival, theCrips, as well as many other gangs, including theGangster Disciples, the Black Disciples, and the Black Gangsters.
In some instances, Bloods and UBN sets will associate with traditional rival gangs, such as the Crips or the Latin Kings, when such associations benefit the criminal enterprises of both gangs.
In Los Angeles and other urban areas in the United States, the formation of street gangs increased at an alarming pace throughout the 1980s and 1990s.The Bloods and the Crips, the most well-known gangs of Los Angeles, are predominately African Americanand they have steadily increased in number since their beginnings in 1969.In addition, there areapproximately600 Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles County with a growing Asian gang population numbering approximately 20,000 members.
Surprisingly, little has been written about the historical background of black gangs in Los Angeles (LA).Literature and firsthand interviews with Los Angeles residents seem to point to three significant periods relevant to the development of the contemporary black gangs.The first period, which followed WWII and significant black migrations from the South, is when the first major black clubs formed.After the Watts rebellion of 1965, the second period gave way to the civil rights period of Los Angeles where blacks, including those who where former club members who became politically active for the remainder of the 1960s.By the early 1970s black street gangs began to reemerge.By 1972, the Crips were firmly established and the Bloods were beginning to organize.This period saw the rise of LA’s newest gangs, which continued to grow during the 1970s, and later formed in several other cities throughout the United States by the 1990s.While black gangs do not make up the largest or most active gang population in Los Angeles today, their influence on street gang culture nationally has been profound.
In order to better understand the rise of these groups, I went into the original neighborhoods to document the history which led to these groups.There are 88 incorporated cities and dozens of other unincorporated places in Los Angeles County (LAC). In the process of conducting this research, I visited all of these places in an attempt to not just identify gangs active in Los Angeles, but to determine their territories. Through several weeks of field work and research conducted in 1996, I identified 274 black gangs in 17 cities and four unincorporated areas in LAC.
Post WWIIto 1965
The first major period of black gangs in Los Angeles began in the late 1940s and ended in 1965.There were black gangs in Los Angeles prior to this period, but they were small in numbers; little is known about the activity of these groups.Some of the black groups that existed in Los Angeles in the late 1920s and 1930s werethe Boozies, Goodlows, Blogettes, Kelleys, and theDriver Brothers.Most of these groups were family oriented, and they referred to themselves as clubs.Max Bond (1936:270) wrote briefly about a black gang of 15-year-old kids from the Central Avenue area that mostly stole automobile accessories and bicycles.It was not until the late 1940s that the first major black clubs surfaced on the East sideof Los Angeles near Jefferson High School in the Central Avenue area.This was the original settlement area of blacks in Los Angeles.South of 92ndStreet in Watts and in the Jefferson Park/West Adams area on the West side, there were significant black populations.By 1960 several black clubs were operating on the West sideof Los Angeles, an area that had previously restricted black residents during the 1940s.
Several of the first black clubs to emerge in the late 1940s and early 1950s formed initially as a defensive reaction to combat much of the white violence that had been plaguing the black community for several years.In the surrounding communities of the original black ghetto of Central Avenue and Watts, and in the cities of Huntington Park and South Gate, white Angelenos were developing a dissatisfaction for the growing black population that was migrating from the South during WWII.During the 1940s, resentment from the white community grew as several blacks challenged the legal housing discrimination laws that prevented them from purchasing property outside the original settlement neighborhoods and integrate into the public schools.Areas outside of the original black settlement of Los Angeles were neighborhoods covered by legally enforced, racially restrictive covenants or deed restrictions.This practice, adapted by white homeowners, was established in 1922 and was designed to maintain social and racial homogeneity of neighborhoods by denying non-whites access to property ownership.
By the 1940s, such exclusionary practices made much of Los Angeles off-limits to most minorities (Bond 1936; Davis 1990:161,273; Dymski and Veitch 1996:40).This process contributed to increasing homogeneity of communities in Los Angeles, further exacerbating racial conflict between whites and blacks, as the latter existed in mostly segregated communities.From 1940 to 1944, there was over a 100 percent increase in the black population of Los Angeles, and ethnic and racial paranoia began to develop among white residents. Chronic overcrowding was taking a toll, and housing congestion became a serious problem, as blacks were forced to live in substandard housing (Collins 1980:26).From 1945-1948, black residents continually challenged restrictive covenants in several court cases in an effort to move out of the dense,overcrowdedblackcommunity.Theseattemptsresultedinviolentclashes between whites and blacks (Collins 1980:30).The Ku Klux Klan resurfaced during the 1940s, 20 years after their presence faded during the late 1920s (Adler 1977; Collins 1980), and white youths were forming street clubs to battle integration of the community and schools of black residents.
In Huntington Park, Bell, and South Gate, towns that were predominately white, teenagers formed some of the early street clubs during the 1940s. One of the most infamous clubs of that time was theSpook Hunters, a group of white teenagers that often attacked black youths. If blacks were seen outside of the black settlement area, which was roughly bounded by Slauson to the South, Alameda Avenue to the east, and MainStreet to the west, they were often attacked. The name of this club emphasized their racist attitude towards blacks, as “Spook” is a derogatory term used to identify blacks and “Hunters” highlighted their desire to attack blacks as their method of fighting integration and promoting residential segregation. Their animosity towards blacks was publicly known; the back of their club jackets displayed an animated black face with exaggerated facial features and a noose hanging around the neck. TheSpookHunterswould often cross Alameda traveling west to violently attack black youths from the area.In Thrasher’s study of Chicago gangs, he observed a similar white gang in Chicago during the 1920s, theDirty Dozens,who often attacked black youths with knives, blackjacks, and revolvers because of racial differences (Thrasher 1963:37).Raymond Wright was one of the founders of a black club called theBusinessmen,a large East side club based at South Park between Slauson Avenue and Vernon Avenue.He stated that “you couldn’t pass Alameda, because those white boys in South Gate would set you on fire,”and fear of attack among black youths was not, surprisingly, common. In 1941, white students at Fremont High School threatened blacks by burning them in effigy and displaying posters saying, “we want no niggers at this school” (Bunch 1990: 118).There were racial confrontations at Manual Arts High School on Vermont and 42ndStreet, and at Adams High School during the 1940s (Davis 1990:293).In 1943, conflicts between blacks and whites occurred at 5thand San Pedro Streets, resulting in a riot on Central Avenue (Bunch 1990:118).white clubs in Inglewood, Gardena, and on the West side engaged in similar acts, but theSpook Hunterswere the most violent of all white clubs in Los Angeles.
The black youths in Aliso Village, a housing project in East Los Angeles, started a club called theDevil Huntersin response to theSpook Huntersand other white clubs that were engaging in violent confrontations with blacks.The term “Devil” reflected how blacks viewed racist whites and Ku Klux Klan members.TheDevil Huntersand other black residents fought back against white violence with their own form of violence.In 1944, nearly 100 frustrated black youths, who were denied jobs on the city’s streetcar system, attacked a passing streetcar and assaulted several white passengers (Collins 1980: 29).During the late 1940s and early 1950s, other neighborhood clubs emerged to fight the white establishment.Members of theBusinessmenand other black clubs had several encounters with theSpook Huntersand other white clubs of the time.
In Watts, several of the clubs were organized geographically by the housing projects in the area.The projects were built for war workers in the 1940s and were intended to be interracial.The first public housing project of Watts was the Hacienda Village: single-story units, built in 1942.In May 1944, the Imperial Courts (498 units) was built, and in September, Jordan Downs (700 units) was completed.In 1955, the most massive of all public housing projects was completed and named the Nickerson Gardens (1,100 units) (Bullock 1969:14-15).By the end of the 1950s, over one-third of the population of Watts lived in public housing (Bullock 1969:16). Clubs like theHunsand theFarmerswere active in the Watts housing projects. Several of these groups fought against the established white clubs for several years.As black clubs began to negotiate strategies to combat white intimidation and violence, the effectiveness of whites to fight against integration and residential segregation began to fail.
Eventually “white flight” occurred, as white residents began to move into the growing suburban areas that flourished in the 1950s, leaving the city areas of South Los Angeles behind. This left the central city of Los Angeles as a primarily black enclave, with blacks accounting for 71 percent of the inner-city population (Brunn et al. 1993: 53). By 1960, the three separate communities of Watts, Central Ave, and West Adams had amalgamated into one continuous black settlement area where low, middle, and upper class black neighborhoods were adjoined into a single community.
During the 1960s, conflicts among the black clubs were growing and, as more white residents continued to move and the white clubs began to fade, the black clubs moved from interracial violence to intraracial violence.TheGladiators, based at 54thStreet and Vermont Avenue, were the largest black club on the West side, and clashes between other black gangs were increasing as intra-racial violence between black club members was on the rise. By 1960 several clubs emerged onthe West side and rivalrybetween East side and West side clubs developed, along with infighting among clubs organized on the same side of town (Figure 4.1).TheBusinessmen(an East side club)hadarivalrywithboththeSlausons(an East side club) and the Gladiators (a West side club).Even though more than 50 percent of the gangs active in Los Angeles were Hispanic, black gangs represented a significant proportion of gang incidents that were rapidly increasing in numbers (Study of Delinquent Gangs1962: 1).During this time, disputes among these were handled by hand-to-hand combat and by the use of weapons, such as tire irons and knives, but murders were rare.In 1960, the six gang-related murders that occurred in Los Angeles were considered an extremely high number.At that point, black-on-black violence between the clubs was becoming a serious concern in Los Angeles.On the surface, the rivalry between East side and West side clubs was associated with altercations on the football field, disputes over girlfriends, and disagreements at parties, but most of their clashes were rooted in socioeconomic differences between the two.East side youths resented the upwardly mobile West side youths, because East side residents were viewed as economically inferior to those residents who lived on the West side.On the other hand, West side youths were considered less intimidating and lacking the skills to be street savvy and tough.In an effort to prove themselves equally tough, West side youths engaged in several confrontations with East side youths during the early 1960s.
Several of these clubs fought against each other during this period, but in 1965 after the Watts Rebellion and under the leadership of several socially conscious organizations, most of the rivalry was eradicated. Young black youths moved towards being more politically aware and having greater concern for the social problems that plagued their community. Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, a member of theSlausons, was successful in transforming several black youths of South Los Angeles into revolutionary soldiers against police brutality (Hilliard & Cole 1993:218), and several other organizations were also contributing to the change. The Watts Riots of 1965 were considered “the Last Great Rumble,” as members of these groups dismissed old rivalries and supported each other against the despised Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) (Baker 1988:28; Davis 1990: 297). Paul Bullock wrote that a result of the riot activity in Watts was a movement to build organizations and institutions which were led by and entirely responsible to the [black] community (1969:69).
Social-Political Period, 1965-1970
In the aftermath of the rebellion, young people, namely former club members from the community, began to build political institutions to contest social injustices, specifically police brutality, which sparked the 1965 Watts Riots.Following the Watts Riots, and throughout the rest of the 1960s, black groups were organizing and becoming politically radical.
For nearly five years, beginning in 1965, there were almost no active black street gangs in Los Angeles. Several reports that black gang activity was on the decline began to circulate (Klein 1971: 22).According to Sergeant Warren Johnson, “during the mid and late 1960s, juvenile gang activity in black neighborhoods was scarcely visible to the public at large and of minimal concern to south-central residents” (Cohen 1972).It was the formation of these new movements that offered black youths a vehicle of positive identification and self-affirmation that occupied the time and energies that might have been spent in gang activity.A sense of cohesiveness began to form, along with self-worth and positive identification, as pride pervaded the black community (Los Angeles Times3/19/72).
After the Rebellion in 1965, club members began to organize neighborhood political groups to monitor the LAPD and to document their treatment towards blacks. Ron Wilkins (ex-member of theSlausons), created theCommunity Action Patrol (CAP)to monitor police abuses (Davis 1990:297), and William Sampson (ex-member of theSlausons), along with Gerald Aubry (ex-member of theOrientals), started theSons of Watts,whose key function was to “police the police” (Obtola 1972:7). TheBstarted a chapter in Los Angeles shortly after Huey Newton, and Bobby Seale started the Party in Oakland, California, in 1966. The BPP in Los Angeles also organized both theblackon several high schools campuses in Los Angeles and theblack, a meeting place for black residents concerning community issues on Florence and Broadway in 1967. Ron “Maulana” Karenga organized a nationalistic group calledUS Organization,and Tommy Jacquette organized theSelf Leadership for All Nationalities Today (SLANT)in October of 1966 (Bullock 1969:67; Tyler 1982: 222). After splitting away from the US Organization, Hakim Jamal started theMalcolm X Foundationin 1968, and Robaire Nyjuky founded theMarxist Leninist Maoist (MLM)which had an office on 78thStreet and San Pedro (Tyler 1983:237).Student Non-ViolentCoordinating Committee (SNCC), a national organization of black nationalists visited Los Angeles and opened an office on Central Avenue in 1967. Also during this period, Ron Karenga createdKwanza,a non-religious holiday that celebrates African heritage.
All these groups were formed in the wake of the 1965 rebellion to provide political support to the civil rights movement that was gaining strength within the black community of Los Angeles.There were several other black nationalist groups in Los Angeles, but the Panthers and US Organization were considered to have the largest following and the most political influence in the black community of Los Angeles following the Watts Rebellion. The BPP heavily recruited members from theSlausons, an East side club, while the US Organization had a large a following from the West side clubs, including theGladiators,but members of both political groups came from a variety of different clubs from all over Los Angeles._____________Carter was elected president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the black Panther Party (BPP), whose sole purpose was monitoring the actions of the Los Angeles Police Department. Several members of the Black Panthers and the US Organization (incorrectly referred to as United Slaves)headed by Ron Maulana Karenga, were at one time members of the black clubs of Los Angeles during the 1950s and early 1960s.Some experts have suggested that the rivalry between the BPP and US was rooted in previous club rivalry, but it was actually associated with the opposite philosophies of the two groups.
After the formation of several progressive groups in Los Angeles, local and federal law enforcement agencies began to target those groups that they viewed as a threat to society and the nation as a whole. The emerging black consciousness of the 1960s, that fueled the political movement, was viewed as hostile.The efforts of these political and militant groups to organize young blacks against police brutality were repressed by the FBI, because they specifically viewed the actions of the Panthers and other groups as subversive and a threat to the security of the nation.Chief Thomas Reddin of the Los Angeles Police Department retained the military model and police tactics that his predecessor (Chief Parker) had employed for sixteen years.Reddin believed that the black Panthers represented a major threat to the safety of his officers and their authority on the streets (Scheisl 1990: 168).
By 1967, the Panthers were one of the strongest black political groups in the nation, and by November 1968, J. Edgar Hoover dispatched a memorandum calling his field agents to “exploit all avenues of creating …dissension within the ranks ofthe BPP” (Churchill and Wall 1990:63). This was accomplished by the use of counterintelligence (COINTELPRO) which are tactics designed to divide, conquer, weaken, and to make ineffective the actions of a particular organization. COINTELPRO tactics that the FBI began to use against the BPP to weaken its power base, were previously used during the 1940s and throughout the 1950s against the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the Communist Party (CPUSA) in the United States (Churchill & Wall 1990:37). From 1968-1971, these tactics were used against the BPP to control and neutralize what was believed to be “a dangerous black political group.” The most vicious and unrestrained application of COINTELPRO techniques during the late 1960s and early 1970s was clearly reserved for the BPP (Churchill & Wall 1990:61; Horne 1995:13).
After several confrontations for over two years, the disputes between the BPP and US continued to the campus of UCLA resulting in the murders of BPP leaders. There are several versions of the events in the described oral histories of those who were present and those who knew the victims personally, but US members were ultimately arrested for the murders.The years of 1969 and early 1970 marked the end of any forward progress byblackpolitical groups in Los Angeles.
Gang Resurgence, 1970-1972
The attack on black political leadership in Los Angeles, and the power vacuum that remained, created a large void for young black youths in the late 1960s that coincided with the resurgence of black gangs.A generation of black teens in Los Angeles saw their role models and leadership decimated in the late 1960s.Raymond Washington, a 15-year-old student at Fremont High School, started the first new street gang in 1969, shortly after much of the Panther power base was eliminated and as other social and political groups became ineffective in Los Angeles. Washington, who was too young to participate in the Panther movement during the 1960s, absorbed much of the Panther rhetoric of community control of neighborhoods (Baker 1988:28) and fashioned his quasi-political organization after the Panther’s militant style, sporting the popular black leather jackets of the time.Washington got together a few other friends and started the first new black gang in Los Angeles on 76thStreet near Fremont High School called theBaby Avenues.
In addition to emulating the Panther appearance, Washington also admired an older gang that remained active throughout the 1960s called theAvenues.He decided to name his new quasi-political organization theBaby Avenues, to represent a new generation of black youths.They were also known as theAvenue Cribs, and after a short time they were referred to as theCribs, which was a comment on their youthfulness.Their initial intent was to continue the revolutionary ideology of the 1960s and to act as community leaders and protectors of their local neighborhoods, but the revolutionary rhetoric did not endure.Because of immaturity and a lack of political leadership, Raymond Washington and his group were never able to develop an efficient political agenda for social change within the community.
TheCribswere successful in developing a style of dress and a recognizable appearance. In addition to their black leather jackets, they would often walk with canes, and wear an earring in their left ear lobe. Some were also avid weightlifters. TheCribsbegan to venture into their own criminal behavior, committing robberies and assaults. In 1971, severalCribmembers that were assaulting a group of elderly Japanese women were described by the victims as young cripples that carried canes. These young cripples were theCribs,but the local media picked up on this description, and referred to this group as theCrips(Los Angeles Sentinel, 2/10/72). The print media first introduced the termCrip, and those that were involved in a life of crime were considered to beCrippin’ by otherCribmembers who were still trying to be revolutionary, with the same political thinking of the 1960s. According to ______________ Danifu, an originalCribmember, theCribswas the original name of theCrips, but the termCripswas substituted by the use of the wordCthrough a newspaper article that highlighted specific individuals who were arrested for a murder.Because some of the earlyCribscarried canes, the entire notion ofCripas an abbreviated pronunciation from crippled caught on. Jerry Cohen wrote thatCripmembers wore earrings in their left lobe, in addition to carrying canes, but the walking sticks were not the source of the gang’s name that many believed (1972: C3). Danifu continued to add thatCrippin’ was a separate thing from being aCrib… “Crippin’ meantrobbing, and stealing, and then it developed into a way of life.”
As mentioned earlier, these youths tried to emulate the fashion of the Panthers by developing a style of dress that included black leather jackets.Those youths who had the crippin’ mentality, became excessively concerned with imitating the Panther appearance.By 1972, mostCribshad been completely transformed into the Crippin’ way of life, which often led into criminal activities.For example, the acquisition of leather jackets by unemployed black youths was accomplished by committing robbery and strong-arming vulnerable youths for their jackets.Jerry Cohen (1972) described the earlyCripsas:
A group of juveniles that committed extortion of merchandise, mugging the elderly, and ripping off weaker youths,particularly for leather jackets that have become a symbol ofCripidentity. (p C3)
Ironically, three days after this article was published, the desire for leather jackets led to perhaps the firstCripmurder, when a sixteen-year old son of an attorney was beaten to death over a leather coat.The victim, who was not a gang member, was a West side resident who attended Los Angeles High School and played cornerback for the football team.According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the group that assaulted him fled the scene with five leather jackets, two wallets, the victim and his friends.A few days later, nine youths, including members of the infamousCripgang, were arrested for the murder. The previous month there was a similar incident where 20 black youths had attacked and beaten a 53- year-old white man to death on Figueroa and 109thStreet in South Los Angeles.It was believed that theCripswere responsible for this killing, but no arrests were ever made (Los Angeles Sentinel 2/10/72).
The sensational media coverage of the event at the Hollywood Palladium, plus continued assaults by theCrips,attracted other youths to join theCrips.For youths that have been marginalized along several fronts, such gangs represented manliness to self and others (Vigil & Yun 1990:64).Many youths joined theCrips, but others decided to form their own gangs.The increased attention the earlyCripsreceived by the police and from the community, because of the violence they were involved in, actually attracted more youths to join these early gangs.The violence was said to have been committed to attract attention and to gain notoriety (Rosenzweig 1972).In addition, several other youths formed other non-Cripgangs, in response to continuedCripintimidation. The idea ofCrippin’had taken over the streets of south Los Angeles, and Mike Davis stated that “Cripmania” was sweeping South side schools in an epidemic of gang shootings and street fights in 1972 (1990:300).In three short years, the firstCripgang on the East side on 78thStreet had spread to Inglewood, Compton, and the West side, totaling eight gangs, as ten other non-Cripgangs formed.By years end, there were 29 gang-related homicides in the city of Los Angeles, 17 in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, and nine in Compton (Rosenzweig 1972).Gang violence was in the early stages of what would soon become an epidemic in Los Angeles.
Between 1973 and 1975, several the non-Cripgangs decided to form a united federation, as manyCripgangs began indulging in intra-racial fighting with other black non-Cripgangs.Because of the sheer numbers that theCripswere able to accumulate through heavy recruitment, they were easily able to intimidate and terrorize other non-Cripgangs, resulting in one of the first Cripagainst Bloodgang-related homicides.A member of theLA Brims, a West side independent gang, was shot and killed by aCripmember after a confrontation (Jah & Keyah 1995:123).This incident started the rivalry between theCripsand theBrims.ThePiru Street Boys(non-Cripgang) in Compton had severed their relations with theCompton Cripsafter a similar confrontation, and a meeting was called on Piru Street in Compton where theBloodalliance was created.Throughout the mid-1970s the rivalry between theBloodsandCripsgrew, as did the number of gangs.In 1974 there were 70 gang-related homicides in Los Angeles, and by 1978, there were 60 black gangs in Los Angeles, 45Cripgangs, and 15Bloodgangs.By 1979, at the age of 26, the founder of theCripswas murdered,Cripinfighting was well-established, and gang crime became more perilous.The county reported 30,000 active gang members in 1980 (Table 1.1), and gang murders reached a record high 355 (Table 1.2).The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office and the Hard Core Gang Unit began to focus their resources on prosecuting gang-related offenses during this time (Collier & Horowitz 1983: 94).From 1978 to 1982, the number of black gangs grew from 60 to 155 (See chapter 5), and by 1985 gang homicides were reaching epidemic proportions after a brief lull of activity during the Olympics of 1984.The epidemic of gang-related crime and homicides continued to soar throughout the 1980s, peaking in 1992 with 803 gang-related homicides.
In three years, after the firstCripgang was established in 1969, the number of black gangs in Los Angeles had grown to 18.Table 1 reveals that in each year where gang territory data was available, the growth in the number of gang territories was significant.In the six years between 1972 and 1978, 44 new black gangs formed, and only two gangs became inactive.In the 14 years between 1982 and 1996, 150 new gangs formed. However, the most dramatic growth was in the four years between 1978 and 1982 when 101 new gangs formed.In addition to the number of gang territories increasing, the spatial distribution of gang territories changed during these years, penetrating several new places within Los Angeles County.
Table 1. Number of black Gangs in Los Angeles County, 1972-1996
|Year||Number of gangs||Percent change||Number of defunct||Net new gangs|
In 1972 theCripsand theBloodswere operating in three cities; Los Angeles, Compton, and Inglewood (Figure 1).EightCripgangs, eightBloodgangs, and two independent black gangs were firmly established within the south-central area of Los Angeles, including Compton and Inglewood.Six gangs had territories that went beyond municipal boundaries into the adjacent unincorporated areas of Athens, Florence, Rosewood, and Willowbrook. The gang territories of these 18 gangs represented a contained and continuous region of gang territories in the south Los Angeles area of 29.9 square miles (Figure 1).
By 1978, the number of gangs in the city of Los Angeles doubled.By 1982, 17 places within Los Angeles County had observable gang territories, with the most significant gains occurring in Los Angeles, Compton, Lynwood and Inglewood. Twenty-one places within Los Angeles County had identifiable gang territories by 1996.
Table2.Number of Gangs in Los Angeles County
To summarize, the research presented on gang territories for the four different years shows a growing trend in both the number of gang territories and the spatial extent of these territories.Not only did gang territories expand from the original regions of Los Angeles and Compton, but territories were being formed in several communities outside this area in the periphery of the county.Blackgangs developed first in the central area of Los Angeles during the early 1970s, then spread to the adjacent suburban areas by the late 1970s and early 1980s.During the 1980s, black gangs appeared in peripheral suburban areas of the county.The increases in black gang territories from Los Angeles to suburban areas of Los Angeles County coincided with the out migration of blacks from Los Angeles County that increased in the late 1970s (Johnson and Roseman 1990:209).Migration patterns within Los Angeles County have, to some degree, influenced the spatial distribution and growth of gang territories within Los Angeles County.In nearly thirty years, gang territories spread to cover over 60 square miles of the county.
The number of black gangs in Los Angeles dramatically increased from 18 gangs in 1972 to 60 gangs by 1978.This trend did not cease, and by the 1990s, there were close to 300 black gangs in Los Angeles County.The accompanying expansion of gang territories led to the inevitability that gang conflict would spill into non-gang communities.blackgangs along with Latino gangs were no longer confined to the inner city of Los Angeles. By the 1990s, the changing geography of these gangs, which were once confined to the inner-city during the 1970s, became bizarrely juxtaposed with the affluent landscape of Los Angeles suburbia by the late 1980s and early 1990s.As the gang epidemic was unfolding in Los Angeles, other urban and suburban areas in the United States began to see the formation of street gangs. During the 1980s, a number of cities reported street gang activity, with many reporting the presence of active Los Angeles-basedBloodandCripgangs.In 1988 police departments from all over the country, from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Kansas City, Missouri, to Seattle, Washington, were reporting that California gang members were extending their operations (Skolnick et al. 1993). Some of this was due to migration of gang members from Los Angeles, and some gang formation was the result of indigenous youths emulating Los Angeles gang culture, which was partly facilitated through the media and films.
Klein’s research revealed that there were one hundred cities reporting gang activity in the United States in 1970 with a significant cluster of jurisdictions reporting gang activity in Southern California.Cities on the East Coast were believed to have a contained pattern of gang formation, while California’s spatial distribution of “gang cities” reflected a pattern of regional proliferations.By 1992, Klein’s survey showed that 769 cities in the United States were reporting street gang activity.By the 1990s, several cities in the Midwest were reporting gang activity while California led the nation in the number of cities reporting gangs.Only four states in the 1992 survey did not report any gang activity (See Klein 1995:193-195).Research by Walter Miller showed that by 1975, Los Angeles was en route to becoming the gang capital of the nation, with an estimated 580 gangs being reported in Los Angeles, the largest number reported in this survey.New York led the nation in gang membership with 24,000, but Los Angeles was second in the country with 13,500 estimated gang members.
Table 3. Average Estimates of Gangs and Gang Members in Six Cities 1974-1975
|City||Number of gangs||Number of members|
Source: Walter Miller 1975
The dramatic increase in the number of gangs from 1978 to 1982, which was most evident in Los Angeles, Compton, and Inglewood, occurred during the same time when unemployment was rising because of plant closures.A major phase of deindustrialization was occurring in Los Angeles that resulted in 70,000 workers being laid off in South Los Angeles between 1978 and 1982, heavily impacting the black community (Soja et al. 1983: 217).Unemployment at the expense of base closures and plant relocations has been linked, among other factors, to persistent juvenile delinquency that has led to gang development (Klein 1995: 103,194).Spergel found that gangs where more prevalent in areas where limited access to social opportunities and social disorganization, or the lack of integration of key social institutions including youth and youth groups, family, school, and employment in a local community, were found (1995:61).Also the type of community was believed to influence the prevalence of gangs, and neighborhoods with large concentrations of poor families, large number of youths, female-headed households, and lower incomes were key factors (Covey et al. 1997:71).In addition, poverty that is associated with unemployment, racism, and segregation is believed to be a foremost cause of gang proliferation (Klein 1995: 194).These conditions are strongly associated with areas plagued by poverty, rather than the suburban regions identified in this study.
By the mid 1990s there were an estimated 650,000 gang members in the United States (U.S. Department of Justice 1997), including 150,000 in Los Angeles County (Figure 1.1).In addition, in 1996 there were over 600 Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles County along with a growing Asian gang force of about 20,000.With gang membership increasing, gang-related homicides in Los Angeles County reached epidemic proportions for black and Hispanic males that represented 93 percent of all gang-related homicide victims from 1979 to 1994 (Hutson, et al. 1995). From 1985 to 1992, gang-related homicides had increased in each of the eight consecutive years (Figure 1.2).However, the year following the Los Angeles Civil Unrest of 1992, there was a ten percent drop inhomicides, the firstreduction in gang-related homicides in LosAngelessince 1984.This drop in killings was the result of a gang truce implemented by the four largest gangs in Watts, the Bounty Hunters, the Grape Streets, Hacienda Village, and PJ Watts (Perry 1995:24).In 1992, shortly before the urban unrest of April 29, 1992, a cease-fire was already in effect in Watts, and after the unrest, a peace treaty was developed among the largest black gangs in Watts.Early on, the police started to credit the truce for the sharp drop in gang-related homicides (Berger 1992).Homicides remained relatively stable for the two years following 1993, and in 1996, there was a notable 25 percent drop in gang-related homicides from the previous year. By 1998 gang-related homicides were at their lowest rate in over ten years despite the increasing number of gang members over the same period.It is not known if the gang truce of 1992 is still responsible for the low number of homicides, or if some other factors such as an increase in police officers, a changing economy, or the implementation of new anticrime legislation have had an effect on the drop in gang crime.Additionally, the growing number of antigang programs may have had an influence on the reduction of gang-related crime.
There are a lot of famous people who are/were involved in these conflicts. These people were mostly rappers. For example, you had rappers like Eazy-E, Nate Dogg and Ice Cube. But the two most famous people who joined these groups are Snoop Dogg and The Game (Cordozar Calvin Broadus and Jayceon Terrell Taylor). Snoop Dogg is a Crib member and The Game is a Blood member. Snoop Dogg was a member of theRollin’ 20 Cripsgang in theEastsideof Long Beach.Snoop Dogg’s conviction caused him to be in and out of prison for the first three years after he graduated from high school. Snoop, along with his cousinsNate DoggandLil’ ½ Dead, and friendWarren Grecorded home made tapes as a group called213, named after the Long Beach area codeat the time. One of his early solo freestyles overEn Vogue’s “Hold On” had made it to amix tapewhich was heard by influential producerDr. Dre, who phoned to invite him to an audition. FormerN.W.AmemberThe D.O.C.taught him how to structure his lyrics and separate the thematic into verses, hooks and chorus.