Bloods Redux

By Christopher Zoukis 

History

According to Julia Dunn, a gang “is an interstitial group, original formed spontaneously, and then integrated through conflict.”  The term ‘interstitial’ refers to a culturally isolated or marginalized group of individuals, who, because of external circumstances (racism, lack of education, unemployment), have been left behind.  These individuals adopt a ‘strength through numbers’ attitude, assume collective standards of behavior, develop ad hoc structures of hierarchy and esprit de corps.  They identify with others of similar circumstances and exhibit territorial tendencies.   Image courtesy coolchaser.com

After World War I, African-American enclaves sprouted up in the urban areas of major cities with the United States.  In the 1920s, Los Angeles encompassed large black conclaves, where unemployment was prevalent and poverty was the norm.  Within these enclaves, family members and friends banded together into loose, unorganized associations that were, for the most part, non-violent.  For lack of a better term, these associations came to be known as gangs.  The gangs of this historical time were non-territorial.  The primary function of such gangs was to present a ‘tough guy’ image and facilitate the accumulation of easy money by means of prostitution, forgery and theft.

Well-known gangs of this period – the 1920s and 1930s – included the Goodlows, the Kelleys, the Magnificents, the Driver Brothers, the Boozies and the Bloodgetts.  During the following decade, the 1940s, black gangs increased their numbers, along with their activities, which now included extortion and gambling, in addition to the usual prostitution, forgery and theft.  They provided ‘protection’ for local merchants, which was nothing more than simple coercion.  Merchants paid for the privilege of not having their places of business torched by their so-called protectors.

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Legends

By Christopher Zoukis Image courtesy mrzine.monthlyreview.org According to legend, Stanley Tookie Williams was the co-founder of the Crips.  The legend was nothing more than embellishment, encouraged by Tookie Williams.  The reality of the situation was this:  Raymond, wanting to expand the Crips to the west side of Los Angeles, approached Tookie Williams about running the […]

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Book Proposal

By Christopher Zoukis African-American gangs emerged in the Los Angeles area during the 1920s and 1930s.  By the late 1960s, a gang called the Baby Avenues was created in South Central L.A.  Like the monster Frankenstein, the Baby Avenues were the creation of a single individual – Raymond Washington aka ‘Ray-Ray.’  The Baby Avenues eventually […]

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Bloods

By Christopher Zoukis

A Brief History

According to Julia Dunn, a gang “is an interstitial group, originally formed spontaneously, and then integrated through conflict.” Image courtesy pbs.org The term ‘interstitial’ refers to a culturally isolated or marginalized group of individuals, who, because of external circumstances (racism, lack of education, unemployment), have been left behind.  These individuals adopt a ‘strength through numbers’ attitude, assume collective standards of behavior, develop ad hoc structures of hierarchy and esprit de corps.  They identify with others of similar circumstances and exhibit territorial tendencies. 

After World War I, African-American enclaves sprouted up in the urban areas of major cities with the United States.  In the 1920s, Los Angeles encompassed large black enclaves, where unemployment was prevalent and poverty was the norm.  Within these enclaves, family members and friends banded together into loose, unorganized associations that were, for the most part, non-violent.  For lack of a better term, these associations came to be known as gangs.  The gangs of this historical time were non-territorial.  The primary function of such gangs was to present a ‘tough guy’ image and facilitate the accumulation of easy money by means of prostitution, forgery and theft.

Read More