The Black Gangsters (BGs), now known more commonly as New Breeds are a large Chicago based African American street gang founded in the Illinois correctional facilities, the BGs originated when a group under the leadership of George “Boony 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. Along with Davis, other founders of the gang included Samuel “King Ram” Lawrence and Maurice “King Baldy” Jackson. Other leaders would include “Cochise,” “Gam,” and “Jeepers.” Afte r 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 known then during the political mob era as (Better Guidance) 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 of the city’s West Side. During this expansion, their principle adversaries were the Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords (CVLs and TVLs), and Black Souls. The Black Souls were brazen enough to put a “hit” on Davis the Don 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 who dropped out of the Folks alliance altogether. They also dropped the 6-pointed star from their insignia and adopted the three “L9 9s” from it: Love Life, and Loyalty. “The new concept was developed by Maurice “Baldy” Jackson, who represented the first “L”, love ( Love for the nation as deep as cold, BLACK cave or mine ). The second “L” was life ( life long committment under the cloudy, GRAY sky ) and it represented Samuel “King Ram” Lawrence. The third “L”, was loyalty ( loyalty until death when a member is committed into the BROWN, fertile soil of the earth), which represented Davis” which coincided with their new colors Black, Gray and Brown.
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.
Hierarchal Organization: The current (or last verified) BG hierarchy goes as follows: “At the top of the BG organization ladder is the “don”, George “Boony Black” Davis. Directly under the don are “princes”:1) Larry Burton and (2) Prince Gambrell, aka’s “Gam”, “Dre”, “Andre Crawford”. Burton is out of prison but Gambrell just received another prison sentence. Under the two princes of the BGs are field marshals: (1)Marco Brown, (2)Young, (3)Shawn “Chief Dog” Bally, and (4) Lucky. Under the field marshals are generals: (1) Calvin Kuyhendal, (2)Carbindine, (3)Kenny Allen, (4)Alvin “Country” Mazie, (5)Kem p, (6)Maurice, (7)Artrel “Dean” Jackson, (8)Gilbert “Mu-Mu” Kuyhendal (brother of Calvin). Note: The ranking positions “king” and “commander” are above that of “prince;” and the ranking position “chief” is above that of “field marshall” according to the Chicago Crime Commission (2002). All of this top leadership are middle-aged men in their thirties. [. . .] Under the generals are a host of lieutenants, some of the more including : (1) “Twin” Wilberton, (2)Lawrence, (3)Lance “Boo-Bye” Baggett, (4) Orlando, (5)Kent Dickens, (6)Fred Curtis, and (7)Little Reese ” (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 W est 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.
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 b ehest 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, “Moto,” 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 one key advantage of operating as a Barnone Organization.The gang has a defined hierarchical structure, which is why its classified as a “Class 3” criminal organization. At th e very top of the leadership is the “Don, ” who controls the entire criminal operation for the “nation.” Under him, in descending order, are “Kings,” “Princes,” a “Godfather,” “Generals,” “Field Marshals,” “Lieutenants,” and “Soldiers.” 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.” 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.
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:=2 0the 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. It may also refer to the Breeds being the third Disciple nation. The New Breeds and Black Disciples have an alliance known as “Da Trayz Both Wayz” referring to the BDs’ III symbol and the BGs’ LLL symbol.
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 which whom by are extremely violent. They control one of the 15-story high rises along west 13th Street and engage in sporadic warfare with other New Breeds as well as other organization s.
Recent Developments: 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 Black Disciples and Four Corner Hustlers (those “under” Ray Longstreet) . Their principle enemies include Conservative and 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=2 0Town 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.