Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=90159
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The Gangster Disciples: A Crime-Line

by Courtney Beard
May 21, 2008


28 people suspected of being members of the Gangster Disciples were charged Wednesday with trafficking firearms and crack cocaine.  The gang, which is based on Chicago’s South Side, has been linked to a series of recent shootings and drug-related incidents.  Here is a timeline documenting the rise of one of the nation's largest gangs.

Early 1960s:  A Chicago “youth group” called the Black P-Stone Rangers turns to crime.  Jeff Fort leads the gang which consists of 50 other local area gangs.  They eventually unite under the name Black P-Stone Nation.

Mid-1960s:  The Disciple Nation is created by David Barksdale.  At the same time, Larry Hoover is running the Gangster Nation.

Late- 1960s: The Gangster Disciples, also known as the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, forms when David Barksdale combines forces with Larry Hoover in an attempt to end the fighting between the two gangs and expand their territory. 

1969- Barksdale is shot and badly wounded in an ambush.

Mid-1970s:  The Black P-Stone Nation and the Gangster Disciples control Chicago’s drug trade and fight constantly amongst each other for territory. Barksdale dies of kidney failure, making Larry Hoover and Jerome Freeman the leaders of the Gangster Disciples.

Late 1970s:  As increasing numbers of gang members are convicted and end up in state and federal prisons, the gangs divide into two main factions so they can differentiate between each other.

Early 1980s:  People Nation and Folk Nation are the two groups that are formed from inside prisons.  Black P-Stone Nation aligns with People Nation, and the Gangster Disciples become part of Folk Nation.

Mid-1990s:  A federal task force is started to investigate the gang’s involvement in Chicago's murders and drug sales.  The government discovers that the gang is netting over $100 million in drug sales each year.

1997:  Larry Hoover is convicted and sentenced to a life sentence in prison.  He continues to run the organization from behind bars.

2008:  The Gangster Disciples are estimated to have 30,000 members in Chicago alone. 

Sources:  Published reports from the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. The Blueprint by Rod Emery,  www.knowgangs.com , Federal Bureau of Investigation,  www.chicagogangs.org , Florida Department of Corrections,  www.gangresearch.net