The Black P Stone Nation was originally formed in Chicago, Illinois and is one of the very few Los Angeles gangs that has historical roots in another city. During the early 1960s, The Blackstone Rangers formed on the Southside of Chicago under the leadership of Jeff Fort (b. February 20, 1947) and Eugene Hairston. After Fort’s release from prison in 1976 the Black Stones changed their name to the El Rukns.
Usenis Perkins writes in Explosion of Chicago’s Black Street Gangs the history of black gangs in Chicago (1987) and makes several references to the Black P Stones in Chicago. Like most black Chicago gangs, their names is rooted in a religous or spiritual identity, and the Black Stone is a reference to the Muslim roots that the early founders had. The Black Stone or the Kaaba Stone is a Muslim relic located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According Islamic tradition the Black Stone dates back to the early human history of Adam and Eve. The Black Stone is in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, in the direction in which Muslims pray.
It was in 1969 when a young T. Rodgers (b. 1957 – ) formed the Black P Stones in Los Angeles with the approval of the Original 21. Initially it was a community based organization that operated in the West Adams area of Los Angeles near Crenshaw Blvd. In Uprising (1995), by Yusuf Jah and Sister Shah’Keyah Chapter 9 includes an interview with T. Rodgers that contains information about the history of the Black Stones in Los Angeles. T. Rodgers discusses the organization that existed during the early 1970s and some of the community work and activities that they were involved with. Since then T. Rodgers has appeared on several television programs and movies on the topic of gangs including Colors (1988) as Dr. Feelgood and he was a participant in the 1989 ABC Special on Gangs hosted by Tom Brokaw. He is also featured in the F.E.D.S. Magazine DVD where he gives an interview from the Jungles, discussing the early days of LA gangs. He was also featured in and American Drug War, a film about how the U.S. government has contributed the the drug problem in America.
The BPS consists of two separate and distinct neighborhoods; The [B]City in the West Adams area and the Jungles, the once exclusive middle class black community during the late 1950s and 1960s. The Jungles, or Baldwin Village as it is officially known as, is adjacent to one of the most affluent Black communities of in the United States, Baldwin Hills. In Donald Bakeer’s book, Crips (1987), the Jungles community is discussed as a haven for middle Black class residents during the 1960s.
The City Stones, the original Black P Stone gang in Los Angeles, includes the clicks of 21st Street, 25th Street and 28th Street. The City Stones were previously known as the 21st Street Black P Stones at a time when there were no clicks. That means everyone from the City claimed 21st Street as it was part of the BPS identity. During the 1990s, clicks formed new identities under the City Stone umbrella.
The Jungles have no clicks and everyone from that neighborhood is known as Jungle Stones (JS). Prior to the Jungles becoming BPS there was a gang in the area known as Green Jackets during the very early 1970s.
In 2004, according to the LAPD there were an estimated 700 members among the two neighborhoods (400 in the Jungles, 300 in the City) and an injunction was served against members of this gang in 2005. Jim Gilliam park, at the top of the Jungles, is one of the parks covered by the City of LA’s Summer Night Lights program since 2008, which is aimed at curbing violence in the Jungles and other communities.
In 2005 the FBI indicted several members of the Jungles in what was called “Operation Stone Cold” in an effort to break up the gang. Then assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles local office, J. Stephen Tidwell, stated in a press conference that they targeted the leadership of BPS in an effort to dismantle it. The FBI arrested at least 18 people on various drug charges. Five years later the FBI launched another investigation into the BPS gang, again targeting their leadership. This investigation, dubbed “Operation Red Dawn,” led to the arrest of 75 people in 2010, some gang members and some not. The Black P Stones are one of the most law enforcement suppressed gangs in Los Angeles’ history of gang suppression with 2 federal indictments and a gang injunction all occurring between 2003 and 2011. Although the efforts to “dismantle BPS,” or “dismantling the gang’s infrastructure,” or “erode” the gang have been claimed by federal authorities, BPS continues to be a presence in the community.
According to Los Angeles Police Department statistics, the Jungles have witnessed record low numbers in violent crime including homicides for over 10 years before any of the suppression efforts even begun. Nevertheless, the rhetoric on gang and crime cause by gangs continues. In 2011, when the Jungles were experiencing record low crime rates in EVERY violent category, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. stated that Operation Red Dawn “is the latest example of our collaborative effort to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for bringing misery into our communities.”
FBI discusses the take down of Black P Stone gang in Operation Red Dawn.
The 2001 film Training Day, starring Denzel Washinton, was filmed on a dead end street in the Jungles which featured Cle “Bone” Sloan of Athens Park.