Black Guerilla Family

The Black Guerilla Family (also known as the Black Family or the Black Vanguard) is an African American prison and street gang founded in 1966 by George Jackson and W.L. Nolen while they were incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California.

Black Guerilla Family
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Founded 1966
Founded by George Jackson, W.L. Nolen
Founding location San Quentin State Prison
Years active 1966–present
Territory Most US prisons
Ethnicity Africans & African Americans
Membership 100-300 full members with 50,000 associates in and out of prison
Criminal activities Drug trafficking[1] auto theft,[1] robbery,[1] and homicide[1]
Allies Symbionese Liberation Army, Nuestra Familia, Black Disciples,[2][3] , Bloods,[2] Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground,[2] Latin Kings Dead Man Inc., Gangster Disciples.[2]
Rivals American Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood,[2] Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate, Mexikanemi, Gulf Cartel, Serbian mafia,Crips

Philosophy and goals

Inspired by Marcus Garvey, the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) was characterized as an ideological African-American Marxist Leninist[4] revolutionary organization composed of prisoners. It was founded with the stated goals of eradicating racism, maintaining dignity in prison, and overthrowing the United States government.

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History

The Black Guerrilla Family was founded by George Jackson in San Quentin State Prison during the Black Power movement. The group later became a recognizable organized crime force in the United States.

Huey P. Newton murder

On August 22, 1989, co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Huey P. Newton was fatally shot outside 1456 9th St in West Oakland by 24-year-old Black Guerilla Family member, Tyrone Robinson.[5] Relations between Newton and factions within the Black Guerilla Family had been strained for nearly two decades. Former Black Panther Party members who became BGF members in jail had become disenchanted with Newton for his perceived abandonment of imprisoned Black Panther members and allegations of Newton’s fratricide within the party. In his book, Shadow of the Panther, Hugh Pearson alleges that Newton was addicted to crack cocaine, and his extortion of local BGF drug dealers to obtain free drugs added to their animosity.[6]

Robinson was convicted of the murder in August 1991 and sentenced to 32 years for the crime.[7]

Fay Stender attempted murder

In 1979, former BGF lawyer Fay Stender was shot five times by recently paroled Black Guerilla Family member Edward Glenn Brooks for what Brooks said was Stender’s betrayal of George Jackson. Brooks forced Stender to state: “I, Fay Stender, admit I betrayed George Jackson and the prison movement when they needed me most” just before he shot her.[8] Stender was left paralyzed below the waist and in constant pain by the assault and committed suicide in Hong Kong shortly after she testified against Brooks.[9]

Baltimore unrest

Baltimore police claimed that the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods, and the Crips were “teaming up” to target police officers.[10] Later, however, leaders of both the Bloods and the Crips denied the allegations,[11] released a video statement asking for calm and peaceful protest in the area,[12] and joined with police and clergy to enforce the curfew.[13] At one occasion, gang members helped to prevent a riot at the Security Square Mall by dispersing attempted rioters.[14] On other occasions, rival gang members helped each other to protect black-owned businesses, black children, and reporters, diverting rioters to Chinese- and Arab-owned businesses instead.[15]

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