Black Gangs in Los Angeles from the 1920s

Los Angeles Black Gangs in Los Angeles from the 1920s

Brief History (African-American Gangs)
By Alex Alonso

1920s and 1930s

African-Americans first formed street gangs in the late 1920s and early 1930s on the Eastside of Los Angeles near Central and Vernon Avenues. They were also forming clubs in the downtown area of Los Angeles where they first settled around the same time. During the years to follow, African-Americans began to move south from downtown Los Angeles, down Central Avenue towards Slauson Avenue. The area between Slauson Avenue and Firestone (Manchester), during the 20s and 30s was occupied primarily by white residents, but just south of Firestone, African-American populations were growing in Watts between 92nd Street and Imperial.

During the 1920s and 1930s, some of the Black gangs that were active in Los Angeles were the “Goodlows,” “Kelleys,” “Magnificents,” “Driver Brothers,” the “Boozies,” and the “Blodgettes” which hung out in an area off the Imperial Freeway known as the “Blodgette Track,” where the 105 Freeway is today. The “Boozies” were a family of many brothers and friends who were involved in prostitution and robbery. The guys frequented the Jefferson Park area on Los Angeles and hung out on Denker Avenue. The “Magnificents” were a group of youths from the Central Avenue on the eastside of LA. Eventually these gangs faded in the late 1930’s as the youths became older. Gangs during this time were strictly juvenile in nature, and those reaching their late teens distanced themselves from the gang.

The Clubs of the mid 1940s to 1965

In the mid 1940’s some new Black gangs began to form in the Central Ave area, and in East Los Angeles. Some of the gangs that were known during this period were the Purple Hearts, 31st Street, and 28th Street. By the late 1940s several more clubs appeared.

In the late 1940s clubs in the Black community were gaining popularity. Some were early attempts at political organizations but several clubs were formed as protective mechanisms against White violence from the white clubs of the time. Because of the increased migration of Blacks from the South during WWII, White residents developed a resentment towards the new migrants.

Some of the Black clubs that formed were involved in petty theft, robbery and assaults, but murder was extremely rare. Weapons of choice were chains, bats, and occasionally knives, and disputes were mostly settled by hand to hand combat. The peak period of these groups occurred during the early 1960s and identifying these Black youths as “gangs” was started by the Los Angeles Police Department. The car clubs were also associated as gangs.

The car clubs dominated through out the 1950s, and some of the popular car clubs in Los Angeles during that time were the “Low Riders” the “Coasters” the “Highwaymen” and the “Road Devils.” Other major territorial clubs from the 1950s and 1960s were the “Businessmen(1957-1965),” the “Gladiators,” the “Slausons (1952-1965),” “Rebel Rousers,” the “Huns,” “Farmers” from Watts, and “Blood Alley” just to name a few.

By 1965 these club forged an alliance and participated in the Watts Rebellion. After the August rebellion of 1965 many of these gang members turned their efforts in other directions. Many political organization and radical movements developed during the years from 1965-1969. Bunchy Carter, who was once a Renegade Slauson (A Los Angeles Street Gang from the late 50’s to 1965), became the leader of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Other key figures that were influential into the Black consciousness of the 1960s, was Ron Wilkins, William Sampson, Gerald Aubry, Robaire Nyjuky, and Hakim Jamal. They were all former club members prior to 1965.

Late 1960’s, early 1970’s

As Black groups became more socially conscience to racism and police brutality, the FBI and LAPD considered these groups as radical and a threat to the national security of the United States.

In January 1969 Bunchy Carter and John Huggins were murdered at Campbell Hall at UCLA, in a dispute with US members. Geogre and Ali Stiner of US organization were arrested, convicted, and sent to San Quentin prison for their involvement. Claude Hubert who was also involved was not charged. There are still many unanswered questions about why Carter and Higgins were killed, but some insist that Karenga’s US gunmen where police infiltrators working with the FBI, while others say that Carter and Huggins were armed and attacking an US associate when they were shot and killed. Whatever the case, this was a turning point in Black Los Angeles identity as youths who were too young to participate in the movement with organizations like the Black Panther Party and US, began to form their own groups as COINTELPRO tactics and actions of the LAPD Criminal Conspiracy Section left ineffective any Black political organizations.

(I discuss this in more detail in Chapter 4 of my manuscript.)

In the aftermath of several killings and incarcerations of those involved in the black movement, Raymond Washington, (b. August 14, 1953- August 1979) a 15-year old youth who attended Fremont High School, Locke High School and who frequented the area of Washington High School in Los Angeles, got together a few youths and started a gang called the Baby Avenues. The Avenues were a gang of older youths who had been active since approximately 1968 and Raymond Washington along with Stanley “Tookie” Williams, Avalon Gardens resident Jimel Barnes and a few other youths looked-up to and admired the Avenues ran by the Munson brothers.

They attempted to preserve the Panther aura, so in 1969 Raymond Washington created the “Baby Avenues,” and to represent the new generation of this new group he called it the Avenue Cribs, or Baby Avenues. The word Crip was a derivative of the word Crib, but how the use of Crip occurred is not clear according to the available literature, but I discuss this more in depth by providing an account of how the term Crip materialized in my manuscript. By early 1972, the use of “Crip” had been entrenched into Los Angeles Gang culture and the term Crib had been phased out.

In the early days there were not that many Crip gangs. Near Fremont High School there were the Eastside Crips, across the Harbor Freeway is where the Westside Crips started, and in Compton there were the Compton Crips. Raymond Washington had organized the beginnings of all these Crip sets, by hooking up with other youngsters like Stanley Williams and Jimel Barnes. By late 1971 the Avalon Garden Crips and the Inglewood Crips joined forces with the Crip sets as did the Hoover Groovers on the Westside and the 43rd Street Crips on on the Eastside.

The L.A. Brims which began in 1969 on the westside were a powerful street group, but they were NOT affiliated with the Crips, and the Blood alliance had not been established. Several gangs which eventually became part of the Blood family had already existed though. There were also the Piru Street Boys in Compton, the Bishops, Athens Park Boys and the Denver Lanes. The Pirus, which are Bloods now, actually hung out with Raymond Washington and the Compton Crips but in 1972 Mac Thomas was opposed to an alliance with the Pirus and it did not endure. For a couple months they were known as the Piru Street Crips.

During the summer of 1972, the Crips from Compton, and the Pirus had a conflict, causing the Pirus to completely disassociate themselves from the Crips. The Pirus turned to the Lueders Park Hustlers for back-up and they created a small alliance against the Crips. Also that same year, the Crips had murdered an L.A. Brim member Lil Country. The Pirus and Brims eventually linked up. Others that were part of this early alliance were the Denver Lanes and the Bishops.

How to combat Crip intimidation was discussed along with the creation of a new alliance to counter the Crips. At that time the color of bandannas was not important, but since the Crips were known to were blue bandanas, the Pirus and the other groups decided to discontinue the wearing of blue bandannas. They decided to take on the wearing of an opposite color, red, and created a united organization which later became known as the Bloods. The Pirus, Brims, Athens Park Boys, and Pueblos decided to unite with the Bloods, and soon after, other groups who had been threatened or attacked by Crips joined the Bloods.

1980s and 1990s

By 1980 there were 30,000 gangs members in Los Angeles County, and by 1982 gang members started to deal heavily in narcotics. Crack cocaine was a new drug and gang members were earning thousands of dollars literally over night. Throughout the 1980s homicides increased each year from 1985 to 1992, but after the Civil unrest of 1992 gang homicides remained stable.

57 Comments for “Black Gangs in Los Angeles from the 1920s”

  1. 8one8

    Is there going to be a timeline that starts from 2000 – present? I’m sort of curious if these historic gangs have any ties anymore. I notice how today there are blood vs. blood rivalry such as the Pueblo’s Bishop Bloods Vs. Blood Stone Villans. Doesn’t that mean Bishops Vs. Brims? Etc.

  2. poeple think that the people in gangs join because that there life and that they dont know anything else but the truth is that if they dont have a familia thy are obviously gonna make 1

  3. Brian McClaud

    I think gangs are a bunch of crappy chickes who dosen’t have a life. Their families are dead and they are out for revenge so they ask for help at some gang and that gang wants a bunch of other gangs to be dead so they goes out on a gang war and than he’s dead, simple as that!

  4. poop johnson

    i hate black gangs

  5. poop johnson

    this website sucks!!!!!!!

  6. Pooper McPoop

    The bloods make me feel like poopin’ and the crips make me feel like poopin’ and not wipin.

    The mexican gangs run LA now. It’s a secret that all the gangster rappers and Hip-Hop gangsta rap industry doesn’t want you to know.

    • dumb white trash

      shut the f up honky albinoid shouldnt you be having sex with your mom piece of ish inbred

    • 3rdworldindustry

      Well if you’re not black and you’re not white, and you smell like ish you must be mexican

      • Jammal

        shut up devil inbreed blankhole, nationality is not a race, there are Central & South Americans too, not just Mexican, and Mexican is not a race, I’m not Mexican, I’m mixed and native. f you bastard.

      • thereal

        u know u wouldnt say that to a mexican gang members face so shut up coward

        • Mael

          This is happening ONLY in Florida beuscae they have figured out that Obama is not doing his job and are going against him.Time to get rid of the EPA. It can be done by state law if enough states band together.

        • MexiansDie

          to be honest you fing Bs need to leave and go back to mexico or were ever your from your race ruin everything in LA your illegal u alien motherfers and you wanna know something if i recall this i said something similar to this to some mexican from southside i fed him up and he try to pull out a gun yeah u .P blank mexicans cant fight leave the USA now you fing alien

        • Wattree

          The rich are going to wipe out the poor Whites, Blacks, and Mexicans. You need to wake up and realize that you’re fighting the last war. It’s no longer about race. We are now knee-deep in a clblank war, and if Blacks, poor Whites, and Mexicans don’t wake up they’re gonna end up on the same plantation being beaten by the same slave master.

        • evilpeople

          finnally someone yhat knows whats up speak on it sir!!! from a real sureno not a little punk gangbanger

  7. Snowman

    I think CRIP is acronime from COWARDS RUN IN PACKS

    • DejuanC64

      You should go out to LA and find out, I think you may be surprised. Its not reality TV

    • thereal

      u didnt grow up in the ghetto so dont talk about things u know nothing about i guess u also think the army, navy and the police force r cowards to

      • Anandi

        to have been one murder daily for over a deadce. Organized crime and gangs were overrunning the neighborhood and causing it to grow increasingly dangerous to live in. The number deaths attributed to gang violence during this time are scarily high.These pictures are a wonderful depiction of the immigrant experience in slums as a whole. Slums were run down, filty, and overcrowded, which can lead to the blankumption of disease, crime and the like. However, the Five Points was notorious for being not only a slum, but the epitome of all slums. It was overcrowded, unsanitary and dangerous to an extent which not everyone may be able to understand from simply looking at these images.

      • I guess they are too, when you enfade someone else home truff.

        • Joe

          Ur a smart guy you know that. In order to save your own country u have to fight wars in other places. Ur taking a ish on every solliver that has lived to save your puny little worthless ungrateful blank. Anyone who says that the military or the police force for that matter. Are cowards. Go to a world without them and see were you would be right now without them !! This is why the military is dying out cuz unpatriotic fs like you say smart uneducated ish like that and beleive it too. Those men and woman lived for you. See where we would be if our sollivers hadn’t invaded Germany’s home “truf” ! We would be reading mon komf right now smart guys ! Ur fed up if u don’t like our sollivers go to Syria or Iraq or maybe North Korea if u can get in and see what it’s like ungrateful bastards. Every solliver is worth more than you. Even that fing traitor. Least he wasn’t smart guyed enough to call our protectors cowards

        • John

          The army, navy, air force and police are the biggest cowards, they need the aristocrats behind em and the biggest weapons fired from a distance… Thats a coward!

  8. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  9. baby avenue

    from 1955 to 1997 L.A. was the most dangerous city on the world, but in 97 police do the civil arrest, not in 92.

    some call that era the hell-time or the gangsta era…… days gangs are .P

  10. E.C.L. Crips_MiMi

    mann see some of yu dudes dont know whblankup, aint sayin all of yu!! some people join bkuz dey feel lik dey dont belong wit certain peopl nd ta protect der selfs nd some go bkuz dey aint got no one ta help dem er a family, mann i was born nd raised in East L.A. mah whole family is CRIPS naa i aint join bkuz of dem i joined bkuz i liked it nd bkuz i had no family no dad around mah mama was juss another woman workin her blank off in da ghetto tryna do sometin fer her kids, mann i aint finna explain mah whole life ta yu guys!! buhh dblank juss a lil bit of what ima tall yu!!!

    • Yo Yo yo yoyoyoyyoy E ta da C te the L my Brotha Crips_MiMi of Anotha Mutha,

      Hey, Just was pray’N dat you’d reconsider tell’N about yer Leaf Starry Mane ?

      Peace & Joy

      From Davey Boyyyyyyeeeeeiiiii………………

  11. Waytoochoosey

    My dad was a bizzness man they had beef with the olde slausons where they talk about that i your article guys from the city bangn hard doing they thang r they trying to leave that bullish what is gangbanging lost my dad homeys cousins to that bullish the essays can have it.

  12. Waytoochoosey

    91 street FHDG

  13. carl lafong

    yo honk don’t find nuffin bout my inglewood tribe. shat be shanked in the wood. buy into 1968, monroe jr. hi dangsters. some real primitive t.b.s in dat jungle.
    don’t never forget inglewood – ya’ll BE spinnin at crenshaw and imperial bro moe.
    zody’s wuz a ripzilla! ipd took care of biz on the dark side o town.
    Actually, the magnitude of your idiocy defies understanding.

  14. Boris (blood)

    GOD bless us all, everyone

  15. slimkrack

    crip rules mehn, so y’all shut d eff up. kitchen crip 4 lyfe!

    • kool aid

      Dont you mean baby ker’s for life, yall shot that little black kid last year and didnt even do nothing to the farts claimming yall hood! yall weak as water!

  16. lady m

    crips is da best of all and i shall sy BLUE SHALL COVER THE NATIONS CRIPS FOR LIFE

  17. holla367

    I feel as if its those racist cops, those racist whites, and government fault for gangs bein. Cuz im sho dat thangs wouldnt be how dey are now if it was for all the racism that was goin on back den. Im Black, but im not from the west im from the south. Mane I feel as if yall shouldnt be k-ingg each other mane cuz we brothers mane. I hate seeing stuff with people of my skin color getting shot or goin into the pen. As Boosie said its a Dirty Dirty World that we live in. The reason I say its the government fault is because they knew cocaine was getting let in the states and they were maybe trying to use it to tear down the black community and make wanna fight over over the ish. I hate seeing ish like that then it gives reason for them to call us animals when we all know that those who were the cause of this are the ones playing this sick blank games. Mane I hate seeing people of my color living this way and it aint right. An to da ones dat are bangin..I aint tryin ta tell ya what ta do but juz sayin why k each otha mane cuz we all black mane our kin folk went through da same ish 200 years ago mane we gotta unite again brothuas an sistas mane. Foreal doe we gotta stop all dis violence.

  18. UR MAMA

    watch Bastards of the Party

  19. Wilburn

    If you desire to increase your familiarity just keep visiting
    this website and be updated with the most up-to-date gossip posted here.

    my site:black communities

  20. Global Deuce

    It was the City of Los Angeles that caused all those gangs to form. White racists
    negihborhood building codes, they just lumped all the good black folks, with the
    bad black folks, and eventually the have and the have nots just started praying upon each other. To that first poster, Gangs do serve a purpose. They provide protection and respect for many blacks, where societies racism and disrespect,
    has dissappointed many a young black male.

    I have worked on Wall St.,I never made any real money until I joined a DEUCE,
    gang set. You see with DEUCE, I will always be of good use. This is the Truth
    The DEUCE gang is not all about murder and mayhem, they have a legitimate
    goal of black neighborhood improvement , and blacl male and female development. The best gang out there is DEUCE,they fly that black bandana.
    DEUCE here yo.For LIFe for the entire Black nation on EARTH!!!DEUCE!!$$$

  21. Eric lupertazzi

    I hate guys and spics with all my heart and soul!

  22. ... ??? ...

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  25. dee doggy dogg

    dammnnn i don’t miss diz dayzz of 80s n 90s particulary summer dayz were u cant get out at night without thinkin who n when u gonna get ur casket drop by anotha fool tryna act tough wit a gun

  26. dee doggy dogg

    don’t miss diz dayzz of 90s fo sure where u cant get out in tha night without thinkin who n when u gonna get u casket drop by some foolz tryna act tough wit a gun

  27. Dee Nutt

    guy I’m frxm Fruit Txwn Br37ms. Gladiators wut it Fruit Blxxd.

  28. Joe

    I joined a gang today

  29. R. C. Jr.

    A couple of my childhood peers belong to the “Businessmen” (circa 1964-1966). I admired them.

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