The Gangster Disciples is a African American street and prison gang, which was formed in the South Side of Chicago in the late 1960s, by Larry Hoover, leader of the Supreme Gangsters, and David Barksdale, leader of the Black Disciples. The two groups united to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN). The BGDN split up and separated into different factions known today as the Gangster Disciples and Black Disciples. Today, the two gangs are bitter rivals.


The predominant symbol of this gang is the six-pointed Star of David, The Gangster Disciples also use the upward crossed pitchforks ("rakes or "pitchforks") and a heart with wings. The primary gang colors are black, grey & white. The organization's old colors were black & blue.


The Gangster Disciples were established on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s by Larry Hoover and David Barksdale. Before the BGD's got their start Larry Hoover was the leader of his own gang called the Supreme Gangsters while David Barksdale was also the leader of his own gang called the Black Disciples. They later united the two gangs in 1968 and called themselves the Black Gangster Disciples. The Gangster Disciples are active in 110 cities and in 31 states, predominantly in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States, and also maintain a significant presence in the U.S. prison system. The gang has between approximately 25,000 and 50,000 members. The Gangster Disciples first emerged in significant numbers in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1980s, the first modern street gang to do so. In January 2021, seven alleged members of Gangster Disciples including national and state leaders of the gang were indicted on charges of racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and weapons charges.

Gang violence

On July 3, 2005, members of Gangster Disciples street gang killed Sergeant Juwan Johnson of the U.S. Army in the small town of Hohenecken near Ramstein, Germany. Prosecutors accused U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Rico Williams of being the first one to start attacking Johnson in a six-minute beating that he had to endure to join the gang. After the beating Johnson asked one of his fellow gang members to take him to the hospital, Williams then ordered his gang members not to take him there. Johnson later died from multiple blunt-force trauma injuries. According to the government's investigations, Williams was the leader of the gang set operating on base. Senior Airman Williams was sentenced to 22 years in prison, while other servicemen faced sentences ranging from 2 to 12 years. Some of the charges against the servicemen were: Williams, second-degree murder and witness tampering; Air Force Staff Sergeant Jerome Jones, conspiracy to commit assault, gang participation, and other charges; Airman Nicholas Sims and Army Sergeant Rodney Howell; involuntary manslaughter; Private Terrance Norman, voluntary manslaughter. The Gangster Disciples featured prominently in the 2008 murders of member Cecil Dotson Sr., his fiance Marissa Williams, fellow member Hollis Seals, and his girlfriend Shindri Roberson. Also killed were Cecil and Marissa's 4 year old son Cemario and Cecil's son with Erica Smith, 2 year old Cecil Dotson II. The toddler had been spending the night with his father and siblings. Severely injured in the attack were Cecil and Marissa's other 3 children 9 year old Cecil Dotson Jr., 5 year old Cedric and 2 month old Ce'niyah. Allegations were originally made that the Gangster Disciples were responsible for the event which came to be known as "The Lester Street Massacre" and was featured in two separate episodes of "The First 48" on A&E. It eventually came to light that the horrific attack was a case of fratricide between two brothers, with the Gangster Disciples uninvolved in the crime. Cecil and his family were butchered by Dotson's own brother, Jessie, who eventually confessed to the killings. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 6 death sentences plus 120 years for the 3 children (his niece and nephews) that he attempted to kill. The Gangster Disciples were cleared of any involvement. On April 27, 2016, 32 members of Gangster Disciples were arrested on RICO charges by federal agents. Among the 32 arrested was a former Atlanta-area police officer who prosecutors say was a hit man for the gang. The indictment alleges that Gangster Disciples members committed 10 murders, 12 attempted murders, 2 robberies, the extortion of rap artists to force the artists to become affiliated with the Gangster Disciples, and fraud resulting in losses of over $450,000. In addition, the Gangster Disciples trafficked in large amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, illegal prescription drugs, and marijuana. The indictment also seek forfeiture of 34 different firearms seized as part of the investigation. On July 21, 2020, a car pulled up at a funeral home in Englewood, Chicago and at least two gunmen inside opened fire. 15 people were wounded, with no reported fatalities. The funeral was for a victim killed a week prior, and was allegedly involving a dispute between two Gangster Disciples factions.

See also

*OutLaw Gangster Disciples *Gangs in Chicago


External links

FBI file on the Gangster DisciplesNational Drug Intelligence Center document on the Vice Lords
{{Organized crime groups in America Category:Organizations established in 1968 Category:1968 establishments in Illinois Category:Street gangs Category:African-American gangs Category:Gangs in Chicago Category:African-American history in Chicago Category:United States military scandals