Alliance: None (Independent/Renegade)
Ethnicity: African American
Colors: Black, Gray /or/Red, Baige
Symbols: Three L’s, Box w/ Circle inside of it-[symbolizing the code of silence], Roman numeral III
Aliases: BGs, BGN, Breeds, New Breeds (NBs), Triple L’s
Factions/Renegade Offshoots: ABLA Outlaws, Death Valley Gangsters, D-Block, K-Town Black Gangsters, New Life Black Gangsters, Pocket Town Black Gangsters, Village Black Gangsters, Dip Set Bloods
Previously Known As: Black Gangster Disciples
Estimated Membership: 2,500
Founder: George Davis alias: “Boony Black”; “BB”; “The Old Man”; “Skull”
Current Leader: Antonio Johnson alias: "Psycho"; "AJ"
Historical Overview: Founded in the Illinois correctional facilities, the Black Gangsters (BGs) originated when a group under the leadership of George “Boonie Black” Davis broke away from the Black Gangster Disciples (BGDs) in about 1978. Under Larry Hoover, the BGD organization had recently emerged as the dominant group of the three gangs that trace their roots to the Devils Disciples: The Black Disciples (BDs), BGDs, and BGs. Before becoming Black Gangsters, the group was known as Royal Disciples, or Royal Family. Davis was the leader of this organization, which was known for it's robbery and extortion escapades. They joined David Barksdale's Disciple coalition in the late 1960s. when the Disciples merged with the Gangsters in 1969, the Royal Disciples were absorbed into the new Black Gangster Disciples Nation. In 1978, for un verified reasons, the Jerome Freeman took a group of followers and splintered from the BGDN, forming the Black Disciples. Boonie also had a group of followers, mainly on the west side, and his organization broke away, becoming the Black Gangsters. Along with Davis, other founders of the gang included Samuel “King Ram” Lawrence and Maurice “King Baldy” Jackson. Other leaders would include Maurice “Cochise” Cooper, “Gam,” and “Jeepers.”In 1982, Davis, along with several others, were convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, and armed robbery. He received a concurrent eighty and fifty year sentence, which was overturned in 1997 after new evidence was brought to trial. Prior to becoming a member of the Royal Family, Davis was a member of a gang called the Braves (c. 1950s), which operated mainly in K-Town. He then joined a gang called the Royal Kings, who were based in the ABLA Homes. The Royal Kings would eventually become Royal Disciples, though after joining the Disciple coalition and subsequently the BGDN, they operated under the moniker, Royal Family. After the splinter, the BGs immediately became entangled in a long-standing war with the BGDs (now known as GDs). In fact, the only assassination attempt against Hoover since he has been incarcerated was perpetrated by BG leader, "Nissan."
In the early 1980s, the BGs developed a voter registration organization, called the Concerned Youth Association. The CYA was intended to give the illusion that the gang had legitimate interests in politics and thus, draw attention away from their criminal enterprise. However, it dissolved shortly after its inception with little fanfare.
Throughout the 1980s, the BGs expanded their base of operations from the ABLA housing project complex on the city’s Near West Side to the K-Town area and Lawndale neighborhood of the city’s west side. During this expansion, their principle adversaries were the Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, and Black Souls. The Black Souls were brazen enough to put a “hit” on Davis while he was serving a sentence in Stateville Correctional Center in 1987. The hit was actually orchestrated by a former high-ranking BG who had recently “flipped” Black Soul. This occurred in 1987. After the hit attempt, in which another BG lost his life, the BGs asked the BGDs to assist them, however, they did not. This apparently angered the BGs enough to drop out of the Folks alliance altogether. They also dropped the 6-pointed star from their insignia and adopted the three “L’s” from it: Love Life, and Loyalty. “The new concept was developed by Maurice “Baldy” Jackson, who represented the first “L”, love. The second “L” was life and it represented Samuel “King Ram” Lawrence. The third “L”, was loyalty, which represented Davis.”
In the late 1980s or early 1990s, a group called the New Breed(s) splintered off from the BGs. However, the two groups would later re-unite shortly afterwards, in the process, forming a symbiosis of doctrines and monikers. Today, most members refer to themselves as New Breed and consider the BG moniker more or less outdated.
In Lawndale, the New Breeds have been engaged in a fierce war with the Conservative Vice Lords (CVLs) for over a decade. In 1999, the street leader for the CVLs, Edward “Pierre” Mahone, was kidnapped and murdered, allegedly by members of the Breeds. However, the Breeds have tight relationship with the Four Corner Hustlers (those “under” Ray Longstreet). Their principle enemies include Traveling Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, and Black Souls (though the Pocket Town Black Gangsters rent drug turf to GDs and New Life BGs share a set, located on Fifth and Sacramento, with Black Souls).
Law enforcement has targeted the Breeds recently. In 2004, a high-ranking member of the gang, and the “shot caller” for the Village Black Gangsters, Antonio “Psycho” Johnson was arrested and later convicted on drug charges. In 2005, he was indicted along with several Four Corner Hustlers, in Operation Street Sweeper. In May 2006, the feds indicted 67 members of the gang, after a two-year joint operation, in Operation Impunity. Among those arrested were Ronald Turner, 25, brothers, Terrell Covens, 23, and Trevel Covens, 20, and their cousin Level Coverns, 21. The Covens family controlled a courtyard encompassed by four high-rise apartments in the K-Town section of the Lawndale community. The Breeds were said to bring in $15,000 per day from narcotics sells at this one spot alone. One can imagine the daily income in the Village and Pocket Town at their respective heights. In October 2006, two New Breeds were killed by Chicago police after the police foiled an assassination attempt on a member of the Traveling Vice Lords. The hit was ordered by New Breed leader Melvin “Ben-Ben” Martin. “The three [Breeds who were ordered to make the hit] were riding in a stolen vehicle near the intersection of Kedzie Avenue and Augusta Boulevard when members of the Chicago police special gang task force stopped them just before 4 p.m. According to Andy Conklin, spokesman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, the men inside the car was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and a handgun. After pointing the weapons at police, the officers fired, killing two of the men, Marcus Thomas and William Tyler” (Riverside/Brookfield Landmark). In a case of technology being used by gangs, Martin used to the Illinois Department of Corrections website to print out mugshots of his intended targets. Lamel “Slim” Burns, another New Breed leader, was also charged with murder and attempted murder in correlation with the plot. Authorities estimate the TVLs and Breeds were responsible for up to 19 murders since January 2006. As a result a special task force was set up to reduce the violence.
In September 2009, Boonie Black died from cancer. In an interview conducted by "As Is Magazine," he claimed that he stepped down from leadership after his parole in 1997. It is assumed he excercised leadership and at the least an advisory role for the organization. Antonio "Psycho" Johnson, Fontaine "Bucket" Lewis, and other "princes" are suspected to suceeding him in leadership.
Hierarchy: The current (or last verified) BG hierarchy goes as follows: “At the top of the BG organization ladder was the “don”, George “Boony Black” Davis. Directly under the don are: "prince of princes," Fontaine Lewis and “princes” (Larry Burton, Jeffery Denson, and Andre Crawford). Under the princes of the BGs are "field marshals," "generals," and "commandors." All of this top leadership are middle-aged men in their thirties. Under the generals are a host of "lieutenants," followed by soldiers (Knox, 2000). Bases of Operation: The New Breeds’ main base of operation has been the ABLA (pronounced “Ablah”) housing complex on the Near West Side. The ABLA homes are a combination of four housing projects: Grace Abbott Homes, Robert Brooks Homes and Brooks Extensions, Loomis Courts, and Jane Addams Homes. Though two 15-story high rises have been demolished, and many of the row houses have been converted into new modern homes, the Breeds continue to dominate this area, known as “The Village.” In an interesting revelation of gentrification in Chicago, the gang operates in direct proximity to upper-middle-class Caucasians who reside in newly furnished property south of Roosevelt Road. Today the gang dominates the entire complex along with the Black Disciples, though previously, other gangs such as the Gangster Disciples and Traveling Vice Lords have controlled territory within the complex. The gang also has a strong concentration in the K-Town sections of the West Garfield Park and Lawndale communities. Additionally, the gang controlled small bases of operation in Fifth City, Humboldt Park, and Austin. The Breed’s also control a base of operations in the Grand Crossings community on Chicago’s South Side as a well as a having a small contingent in Englewood. They’ve also controlled turf in the Cabrini-Green and Altgeld Gardens housing projects, Jeffery Manor, Roseland and Auburn-Gresham. Additionally, the Breeds have exercised a presence in various Chicago suburbs such as Aurora, Peoria, Robbins and Rockford. Out-of-state branches include Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Atlanta, Georgia; and New Orleans, Louisiana, among others. The New Orleans Bloods form a symbiosis with the New Breeds in Louisiana.
Method of Operation/Culture: The BGs are an extremely strict organization, and it is not uncommon for the gang to issue a “death violation.” This happened to be the case in 1991 when high-ranking BG, “Gam” (a Prince), issued a murdered on higher-ranked BG, Baldy (a King), for having sex with younger members of the gang while in prison. Additionally, Baldy was attempting to extort Gam. Internal conflict has plagued the BGs for decades. As mentioned, a high-ranking member of the gang, “Gabby,” joined the Black Souls in the Illinois Department of Corrections because he was issued a violation (beating for disobeying gang laws) at the behest of George “Boony Black” Davis. Gabby then retaliated by attempting to murder Davis in Stateville. Davis was stabbed, but survived the ordeal. Gabby was killed in 1991, presumedly at the behest of Boony Black. The Souls were successful in killing other ranking BG members, however. In some sections of the West Side, the Souls and Breeds remain in a heated battle for control of drug turf and bravado. However, in other areas, the Souls and BGs share territory. Elevated competition within the Breeds has also been an ongoing problem for the organization. Nissan, who held the rank of “king” and was one of the founding members, was “forced” out of the gang due to a conflict with the “Don” (George Davis). It is rumored that Nissan even attempted to orchestrate a hit on the Don. Another former prince, Melvin “Moto” Spencer, was also forced to leave the gang, allegedly for remaining inactive during the assassination attempt on Davis. Apparently, the Don assumed Moto may have played a role in the plot to “dethrone” him. Like all African-American street gangs, the Breed’s primary criminal involvement include drug dealing and assault, shootings, and murder to defend their drug turf. The gang has also engaged in kidnapping, extortion, theft, armed robbery, illegal dog- fighting, gambling, graffiti, money laundering, and vandalism. Unlike most gangs, the Breeds don’t concern themselves with “gang-banging.” For example, while People gangs identify to the left and Folk gang identify to the right, Breeds often times prefer not to draw unnecessary attention.
New Breeds wear Black and Gray and have a tendency to dress in Chicago White Sox sports apparel. Gang members also wear Green Bay Packers and Georgetown Bulldogs sports apparel. Likewise, anything with the “G” insignia is also worn by gang members.
New Breeds usually greet each other using the term “G.” Members of the gang use the phrases, “On the Breed,” “On the L’s,” and “On BG,” –in addition to non-particular gang phrases such as “On Chief,” or “On (the) Mob”-- to show sincerity or declare an affirmation with the utmost assertion of truth. The gang’s hand-sign incorporates the raising the middle- , ring-, and pinky- fingers which signify the three “L’s.” The gang’s handshake is done by first forming a “box” with each corresponding member’s index- fingers and thumbs, then one member over-lapping his ring-, middle-, and pinky-fingers over the other’s.
High-ranking leaders of the New Breeds have tended to live outside city limits. Melvin Martin, for example, a leader charged with plotting hits against the Vice Lord hierarchy, has lived in North Riverside since at least 2001. Antonio “Psycho” Johnson, another high-ranking leader for the gang, held residences in Oak Park, Il. and Atlanta, Ga.
There are numerous Black Gangsters in popular meia. The film Black Gangster was a portrait of the Chicago New Breeds. And several Hip-hop recording giants are members of the BGN: The Legendary Traxter (Producer), Cash Money Records and Young Money Records, and The Diplomats (Cam'ron, Hell Rail, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana). Iconography: The New Breed’s symbols include a box with a circle inside of it, and three L’s. The box with circle symbolizes a code of silence along with the four “points” of the box having a dualistic meaning: the four original founders of the gang and a crude representation of the Six-pointed star (Star of David) split in half. The three L’s stand for Love, Life, and Loyalty, three principles or “points” of the 6-pointed star, which originated in BGD internal documents (a.k.a. literature, or “lit”). Sometimes Breeds may identify with the Roman numeral III, which symbolizes the “gates” in BD manifesto, due to the gangs’ close relationship with each other.
Factions: The BGs are a very clique-oriented gang and often times challenge each other for drug territory and positions of rank. Among the gang’s factions are the Village Black Gangsters (VBGs), Pocket Town Black Gangsters (PTBGs), K-Town Black Gangsters (KTBGs), and Death Valley Gangsters (DVGs). The former three factions are geographic alliances, each with their own Prince, and in some cases, King. There “may” be a faction of Breeds known as the New Life Black Gangsters (NLBGs), who are more or less a “clique” that shares territory with the Black Souls in West Garfield Park. The DVGs are a renegade group that emerged in the ABLA homes. They control one of the 15-story high rises along west 13th Street and engage in sporadic warfare with other New Breeds. There were also two other factions, known as the Black Gangster Lynchmen, and the Goon Squad Black Gangsters. the later group had a large presence in the Ida B. Wells housing project on the south side throughout the 1980s; neither group exists today. However, these exists a faction called the Lynchmen Sercaun Gangsters. They are a descendent of the LBGs. They have a b.o.o. in the Ada Park area and Calumet Heights neighborhood. There is a chapter of UBN form a symbiosis with the New Breeds in Harlem, New York. Theur b.o.o. is 125th Street through 139th Street. These pasticular BGs wear Red and Baige.
Roosevelt to 15th, Ashland to Racine "The Village" in the ABLA Homes
Carrol & Pulaski
Fifth & Sacramento Blvd. (shared w/GDs and BSs)
Fifth & Whipple
Van Buren & Kostner
Congress Pkwy. & Kolmar
Congress Pkwy. & Central Park
Lexington & Kostner
Polk & Kolmar
Fillmore & Kilbourn
Taylor & Kilbourn?
Grenshaw & Homan
Grenshaw & Springfield
Roosevelt Rd. & Kedvale
13th & Sawyer
14th & Springfield
14th & Spaulding
14th pl. & Morgan in the Barbara Jean Wright Apts.
16th & Kenneth
18th & Karlov “The Square”
18th & Kedzie area
21st & Spaulding
67th & Wolcott
71st & Woodlawn “Pocket Town” (67th to 71st, Woodlawn to Kimbark, 71st to 75th, Woodlawn to South Chicago)
84thpl. & Langley in the Avalon Park Estates Apts.(shared w GDs)
93rd & Stony Island
116th & Racine
119th & Justine
Gary and Indianapolis, Indiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Taylor & Cabrini (Jane Addams Homes)
Taylor to Roosevelt, Racine to Ashland
14th & Blue Island "D-Block" (shared w/Black Disciples)
several high rise buildings within the ABLA Homes
Ida B. Wells (Goon Squad Black Gangsters)
94th & Harper (LSGs)
96th & Torrence in Jeffery Manor