|Founded||Founded in 1962 by Horace Willis in or near East Garfield Park|
Founded near Madison and California.
|Colors||Black and White|
|Primary ethnicities||African American|
|Symbols||Winged Heart, 4 Point Star, and Black Diamond|
Heart with wings-gangster Black Souls, 440, 4 point star, black diamond-Mad Black Souls
The Black Soul earlier history is a tough one to figure out and is a culmination of different groups that came together. The story begins in the year 1962 when some 12-year-old boys from East Garfield Park got together to form a roller-skating dance group that skated at 2550 West Madison Street (Madison and Rockwell) which has always been a skating rink that has changed hands over the years. The group of boys headed by Horace Willis, who was 12 at the time put together this skating group. Horace Willis was into music and was said to be a musician that was big into the down beat. These youths were not drug dealers and may not have even been gangbangers. Outside of the roller rink these boys frequented the intersection of Madison and California in East Garfield Park which was just blocks away from the roller rink.
Another part of the history was the creation of the Soul Brothers that allegedly started in East Garfield Park around Homan and Madison in about the same year by Frank Davis. The Soul Brothers were known to be active in the North Lawndale community in the K-Town section by the later part of the 1960s. Another group to begin mention is the Impressionists that began at about the same time as Black Souls and Soul Brothers. The Impressionists also came from the K-Town part of North Lawndale and were rivals of the Soul Brothers in these earlier years. From what I gather the Soul Brothers and Impressionists were more violent than the Black Souls. The Soul Brothers and Impressionists made the newspaper in 1968 and 1969 and the Black Souls were not in the media. In one September 10, 1969, article the Impressionists killed a member of the Soul Brothers shooting him in the head.
There really isn’t much of a story on the Black Souls in the 1960s and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Black Soul group didn’t start until 1968. It was rumored that Horace Willis was a Vice Lord before forming the Black Souls, but I am not positive about that and it could have been possible he was a Vice Lord up to 1968 then formed the Black Souls. It can make sense the Souls didn’t start until 68 because before then there are no stories, records, news articles or nothing on them before 68. The 1962 founding year that is in legends told on the streets could pertain more to the Soul Brothers that were for sure formed around at this time. I did speak to a gentleman that was a Latin King from Little Village between the years 1967-1971. He told me as a King they often traveled the city into various neighborhoods to attend parties, handle business and what not. The former Latin King I spoke to said, him and his group ended up around Adams and Pulaski in the West Garfield Park neighborhood in the late 60s. He was more than likely hanging out in the Delano Elementary School playground that is the founding spot of the Four Corner Hustlers. It is facts that when the Four Corner Hustlers formed in 1968, Walter Wheat, the Four Corner Hustler founder was related to multiple Black Souls and King Pee Wee was a cousin of Walt Wheat. In 1968 Walt Wheat invited the Black Souls to West Garfield Park to settle the west side of Pulaski right next to Four Corner Hustler original territory which is on the east side of Pulaski. This area of Adams and Pulaski is still Black Soul territory presently and the home of the Rollin 4000 D-Block, Insane Solid Black Souls. Adams and Pulaski area is exactly where 4s and Souls became very tight beginning in 1968 and West Garfield Park was the second neighborhood or perhaps the first the Souls settled. The former Latin King I spoke to said nothing but good things about the Souls as he said they were “cool” and “good guys.” This is what I understand as the mannerisms of the original Souls. This Latin King I spoke to told me there were roughly 80 Black Souls around Adams and Pulaski, this shows just how big the Souls were in this area.
The original Black Souls formed the gang because of so many problems they had with Vice Lords. The Traveling Vice Lords were Four Corner Hustlers’ worst enemy. There were TVLs all over original Black Soul members’ hood around Madison and California and the TVLs were by the 4s at Madison and Springfield area. The original 4s and first-generation Black Souls bonded over hatred of TVLs, Jive 5s, Supreme Gangsters and Black P Stones trying to settled North Lawndale. The Supreme Gangsters (now known as Gangster Disciples) were also aggressively settling the west side streets in 1968 as they were trying to take the southern part of West Garfield Park south of Jackson Boulevard mainly south of the West Garfield Park Black Souls. Black Souls also wanted the corner of Monticello and Ohio in the West Humboldt Park community, but the Supreme Gangsters were settling Huron and Homan area and wanted to spread west, this resulted in a violent gang war in the late 60s and early 70s that made the newspaper in 1971 when the Black Soul gang leaders living at Monticello and Ohio killed a teenager thought to be a Supreme Gangster and he likely was. As the young man lay dying on the street in a pool of blood, he scribbled the names of his shooters in a notebook for the police to find and two Mad Black Souls were convicted.
As I stated I do not know how violent or aggressive the Souls were in the 60s but the group became much more aggressive and violent beginning in 1969 when the founder Horace “King Pee Wee” Willis was killed during a robbery attempt. Willis was attempting a robbery one day in 1969 when Chicago police arrived at the scene. I am not sure if Willis was armed or if this was even armed robbery but one thing for sure he tried to run from the police and was not a threat to anyone besides running from the police. The police shot him as he ran which is common for police to shoot a fleeing suspect; however, a grave injustice happened when the police did not stop shooting him even after he was deceased. Willis received at least 30 bullets in his back which shows nothing short of pure hatred when you shoot a dead man that many times. This story never made the papers, and the officers were never punished, however, legal action was taken against the Chicago police and the parties, that want to remain anonymous, obtained only a minor victory. I have searched for this case and even had a lawyer assist me in finding it, but it was not found, the lawyer advised it is likely because there was a settlement reached outside of court which makes perfect sense. If the legal action was pursued further in 1969 Chicago, you can bet there would have been retaliation against those close to Willis. Willis did not harm anyone during the robbery which makes it a further injustice that he was not only killed but brutally killed.
The Black Souls were enraged after the death of Willis and then rebranded themselves as the “Mad Black Souls.” The Mad Black Souls made the newspaper for the first time in 1970 and were known as the “Mad Black Souls.” In a 1972 article the Souls were labeled as one of Chicago’s more violent street gangs alongside Latin Kings, Black P Stones, Vice Lords, and Supreme Gangsters (Gangster Disciples). After the death of Willis, the Mad Black Souls began selling drugs and began having conflicts with the Four Corner Hustlers now that Pee Wee was deceased.
After the death of Pee Wee William Earl Weaver took over the Black Souls from the 1969-1975 and that is most of what I know of him. This was an era where the Mad Black Souls were first getting introduced in the media and were known for drastic violence. I am not sure what brought Weaver’s era to an end, but it was done by 1975 and then a rebirthing of the Souls happened that made the Souls more legendary than ever and not for wild killing and violence but more for becoming an organized mob as making money became a big interest more than ever.
In the year 1975 now that Earl Weaver was no longer in charge the Black Souls went through a major change and re-organization that would bring the Black Souls much higher profits than ever. The Black Souls established a merger with the Soul Brothers to create the Black Soul Brothers. This new re-organization not only tied the Black Souls with the Soul Brothers this was also when the Gangster Black Souls were created. In the year 1975 a money-making Supreme Gangster Wayne “Jack Bobo” Edwards decided to flip to a Black Soul while still maintaining strong ties to the Supreme Gangsters for money purposes. This would be an arrangement that was mutually beneficial for the Supreme Gangsters and for the Black Souls and now Edwards was able to establish the Gangster Black Souls in 1975.
The Gangster Black Souls would be located in the Austin neighborhood around Lake and Cicero Ave. The GBS was also established in East Garfield Park establishing a strong relationship with Supreme Gangsters (Black Gangster Disciples), as the GBS established themselves in the original Black Soul territory around Madison and California that was an area shared with Mad Black Souls. GBS would also set up in the area of Lake and Homan. GBS would also set up in K-Town in the area of 16th and Kostner once again sharing with Black Gangster Disciples (Supreme Gangsters).
The Mad Black Soul name continued, but this time as a faction, as these Souls were well established in both East and West Garfield Park, and they settled in southern Austin by the Four Corner Hustlers. These Black Souls would eventually obtain a strong relationship with Four Corner Hustlers.
There was also the Black Outlaw Soul Brothers group, but I am not sure about that arrangement but for sure it has roots with the Soul Brothers. This group would eventually become big in East Garfield Park and have territory in Austin. This group was present in the North Lawndale community in the original K Town area where Soul Brothers were big in the 60s at 14th and Avers area. I think the K-Town part of this group would later flip to GBS as this group was always tight with Supreme Gangsters (Black Gangster Disciples).
The other group established had deep roots and this was the Black Egyptian Cobra Souls from the K-Town area of North Lawndale. This group came from the notorious Egyptian Cobras that was once the biggest gang on the west side of Chicago. The Cobras were founded in 1954 in the Maxwell Street Market area of the Near West Side then soon migrated to K-Town by the later 1950s. By the early 60s only two groups stood tall in North Lawndale which were the Vice Lords and Egyptian Cobras. The Cobras were strong with a deep history but by the early 70s they were becoming something of the past and were part of old ways dying out, but some Cobras wanted to keep it going but could no longer maintain on their own and were facing complete extinction by 1975. These Cobras were about making money, and this drove them to become part of the Black Souls. Willie Jones was the Egyptian Cobra that made this arrangement and was now part of the Black Soul council running the Cobra Souls faction.
The Impressionist gang was still lingering in the North Lawndale K-Town area and just like the Cobras the Impressionists became part of the Black Souls; however, I am not sure which group they attached themselves to, but it could have been either with the GBS or Soul Brothers.
Being part of the original west side Supreme Gangsters Wayne “Jack Bobo” Edwards had strong ties to Larry Hoover and the Gangsters and was able to get a network of cash flowing especially since Supreme Gangsters were big money makers since their inception on the south side in 1964. The two forces combined would turn large profits in East Garfield Park and in K-Town.
In April of 1978 the Folk and People alliances were formed in prison. Black Souls joined the Folk alliance in the prison system when these alliances were created. Mad Black Souls also drew up an alliance with the Four Corner Hustlers of Madison and Homan in the East Garfield Park area this same year, this developed the 440+ concept in 1978. The Gangster Black Souls were heavily unified with Black Gangster Disciples which is why the Souls joined in prison. The original Black Souls had a strong relationship with Disciple founder David Barksdale who created the Disciple alliance in 1966 and it was said the original Black Souls or Soul Brothers became linked to this perhaps more indirectly because the Souls never adopted the last name of “Disciple.” In that same year of 1978 the Four Corner Hustlers became a part of the Vice Lord nation and joined the nation of Peoples while incarcerated. This was the only way the 4s would be accepted into the People alliance. With the 440+ concepts the Mad Black Souls could link the nation to making profits alongside Four Corner Hustlers and a link to the Vice Lord nation. Linking to Four Corner Hustlers and Black Gangster Disciples made for an easy transition to linking heavily into the west side heroin trade in Austin, East Garfield Park, West Garfield Park and North Lawndale.
In the year 1981 just as Folk and People spread to the streets of Chicago a new group of Black Souls formed called the Impressionist Black Souls. The Impressionists were allied with the Four Corner Hustlers just like MBS and were also at war with BGDs and Folks. IBS began at Wilcox and Pulaski in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, a long-held territory that used to be exclusively owned by MBS, but some MBS became IBS in 1981. Sometimes wars have happened between IBS and MBS but mostly both groups have held that corner for decades. I am not sure how the Impressionist name was resurrected but the Impressionist movement has links to the old Impressionist gang from K-Town. Perhaps some of the founders of the IBS group were former Impressionists.
In that same year of 1981 Folk and People had now spread to the streets and most gangs that were attached to either side now represented it in the streets; however, the Black Souls as an entire organization chose not to identify with either side despite being affiliated with Folk in prison. Some groups of Souls were claiming Folks in the 1980s like the Outlaw Soul Brothers were claiming Folks and many times Gangster Black Souls claimed Folk. Mad Black Soul groups and Solid Black Souls many times would claim People alliance. It all depends on where the Soul group is located and who they do business with at the time. Some Soul groups despise Gangster Disciples while other groups embrace them, some Soul groups despise Four Corner Hustlers and Vice Lords while other groups embrace them. For the most part most Soul groups are in a rivalry with Vice Lords especially Traveling Vice Lords.
On December 9, 1983, the Black Souls murdered a Vice Lord chief by the name of Jerome Wells. According to court documents Black Soul members were infuriated over the death of Black Soul member Tom Slick and now they wanted revenge. According to court documents about 8 or 9 members of the Black Souls met at gang member Eddie Wood’s apartment that was located somewhere on Van Buren Street. Woods had a whole lot of guns in his apartment and was able to pass them out; he was also able to test one of the shotguns out in the hallway, which shows that obviously residents were not bothered by gunshots in the building. The Black Souls marked Vice Lord Chief Jerome Wells for death, and Wells lived right across a vacant lot in an apartment building next door, this is also the building where Black Soul member Larry Gross’ mother lived. The plan was for four teams of two gang members each to go across the open lot and into the nearby building and into Larry Gross’ mom’s apartment and drink beer until the lookout told them Wells was coming. Later on, they made it to the building and Wells came home to his 7th floor apartment, he was then ambushed by Black Souls and shot several times. Larry Gross, Eddie Woods, John Mahogany, and Willie Atkins were all charged with murder (People vs. Atkins). This murder showed that the Black Souls would retaliate heavily if a rival gang would kill one of their own.
Another case to note involved the Black Outlaw Soul Brothers of K-Town. This was a section that is viciously fought against the Vice Lords. The Outlaw Soul Brothers guarded their territory tightly and expected rival Vice Lords to comply by staying out of the area. On the night of January 22, 1984, Vice Lord gang members Keith “Chip” Jordan had become a victim of a brutal gang beating from the Outlaw Soul Brothers. According to court documents Keith Jordan was walking alone through Soul Brother territory at 16th and Harding when Soul Brother gang members Kenneth “Keno” Anderson, “Zel,” and Larry Glasco flashed gang signs at Jordan and screamed out “Folks poppin, People droppin!” A series of hand signs were exchanged as Soul Brothers threw down the Vice Lords, then the three Soul Brothers chased Jordan who slipped and fell, Zel and Glasco proceeded to beat Jordan with a pipe and a large wooden stick, then Keno jumped in to attack Jordan. The only reason the men stopped was because a female witness began screaming, then they wanted to go after her when she tried to help Jordan, but she managed to run away and call police. According to court documents Jordan died later of severe head trauma and Zel and Glasco were not convicted but Kenneth “Keno” Anderson was convicted (People vs. Anderson, 1987).
Black Soul leader Sam McKay was put in prison in the year 1992 after leading the Mad Black Soul faction for some time. In 1992 when McKay was put in prison and Wayne Edwards took over most nation functions, another new group of Souls started called the New Life Impressionist Black Souls that started at 19th and Pulaski in North Lawndale. Willie Jones was put away for murder at some point.
I do not know when Sam McKay was running the MBS but was definitely in charge of the Mad Black Souls by 1987 at the latest. On November 13, 1987, according to court documents in the case of People vs. Murray, Sam McKay ordered the deaths of Brian Fowler and DeJuan Buck. Fowler and Buck were selling drugs near the intersection of Fulton and Kedzie in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. The Black Souls were running a major drug house at address 3233 West Fulton which was right at that intersection and these young drug dealers were infringing on McKay’s turf according to court documents. McKay got together with Kevin Murray, “Jet,” “Paris” and Tyrone Washington to plan out the murder and Jet brought in a gym bag with two Uzi machine guns. McKay said the two must die according to court documents. Kevin Murray then became the driver and escorted Jet and Washington to go out looking for the two dealers, eventually they spotted the two dealers then Jet and Washington got out of the car and shot the two dealers dead in a back alley by 3300 West Fulton, they then got in the car driven by Murray who served as the getaway driver and was also said to be Sam McKay’s personal driver according to court documents. Kevin Murray also was a drug dealer in the Black Souls that moved drugs under McKay according to court documents. Murray and Washington were charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison, for some reason Sam McKay was never brought up on charges in this case (People vs. Murray, 1993).
The Black Souls were very serious about their drug turf from the start. This was apparent in the November 13, 1987, murder of two rival drug dealers. Another example of the Black Souls flexing their muscles in East Garfield Park came on the night of August 4, 1990, at the intersection of Adams and Francisco. At this intersection is a two-story apartment building that John “Screwball” Barnes was running a crack cocaine operation on the second floor of the building that was rented by his tenants Claude “Blood” Benson, “J.C.” and Floyd Spencer. Screwball supplied the drugs and brought it the building and would give the drugs to Carol Ramsey who would then give the drugs to Charles Williams who sold the drugs in the apartment while Benson collected the money and brought the proceeds back to the Black Souls which Benson was a member of according to court documents. Carol Ramsey lived in the building on the first floor with a Gangster Disciple gang member named Reginald Jett. Drug users were able to stay inside the building and smoke their crack, which meant this place was a “smokehouse.” This crack house was jointly operated by members of the Black Souls and the Gangster Disciples, I am not sure if Screwball was a member of either gang. On the night of August 4th Claude Benson argued with Carol Ramsey that Screwball owed the Black Souls money and because of this the drug operation had to cease activity or the building would be burned down, when Screwball allegedly refused according to court documents, a Gangster Disciple gang member and Jeffery Todd Wilson, a Black Soul gang member, then doused the place in gasoline then lit it on fire while they yelled for everyone to get out, then there were two explosions as the building blew up. The men were paid $200 to light the fire according to court documents. Two men died in the blast, Floyd Spencer and Lee Burnett, Wilson was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison (People vs. Wilson, 1998).
In the year 1991, the Four Corner Hustlers were now being ran by Angelo Roberts. In order to not only secure Robert’s position but to also increase profits and the power of the Four Corner Hustlers the 4s passed down the black diamond concepts to the Mad Black Souls. This was supposed to be a tester concept drawn up by now deceased Four Corner Hustler leader Monroe Banks to engrain into young 4s that they were independent of the Vice Lord nation. The black diamond concepts then got confused as a way to break away from the People alliance; however, that not really the case. Because of the great independence the diamond stood for it became a great concept for young MBS’ to adopt to and this would help 4s and Souls do business together. Roberts now invited the Souls into the Rockwell Gardens projects for some years until war broke out with the 4s in those buildings in the later 90s.
The Black Souls kept a smooth operation throughout the 1970s and 1980s not gaining much publicity until 1993 as the Black Souls were thought of as a Black Gangster Disciple faction and nothing more especially since the Gangster Black Souls faction had such tight relations with GDs on the west side and south side.
By the year 1993 the Black Souls were being targeted by law enforcement for selling millions of dollars’ worth of drugs in the streets. The Souls were a major threat because of their complex drug trade and their propensity for violence if their drug turf was to be infringed on. During the 1990s law enforcement and the media focused on Wayne “Jack Bobo” Edwards as he was known to be connected to the Chicago Outfit and was a big-time drug dealer. There was even a saying drug addicts would sing a song as a parity to the popular George Michaels hit song “Wake me up…before you go go…I need to buy more dope…from our boy Jack Bobo.” Jack Bobo would eventually face incarceration for some time then eventually retire from the street life in more recent years.
The Mad Black Souls main base become Walnut and Homan in East Garfield Park as they have been as war with Gangster Disciples and Unknown Vice Lords. MBS here is cool with Traveling Vice Lords from Chicago Ave and St. Louis.
The Souls have had legendary wars with the New Breeds and Vice Lords but in other parts of the city they are business partners. The Souls do not need to ally with Folk or People. The Souls operate like a chameleon, they adopt to their surroundings to get what they need and survive and this is how they have grown over the years and even opened up in the suburbs and other states, while multiplying into the thousands. The Black Souls continue to be a major part of Austin, East Garfield Park, North Lawndale and West Garfield Park communities with several big-time members residing on these streets.
Please send in some 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pics!
Known decks of the Black Souls past and present
Austin neighborhood Established 1975-present years
Decks of Austin
Thomas to Augusta, Leamington to Leclaire (LT Souls, Mad Black Souls shared with Four Corner Hustlers)
Huron to Ohio, Leclaire to Lavergne
Hubbard to Kinzie, Lavergne to Cicero (The Hub)
Lake to Maypole, Lavergne to Cicero (Gangster Black Souls)
Fulton & Cicero (Gangster Black Souls)
Washington & Cicero
Chicago Ave to Augusta, LaVergne to Laramie (Hunit Mob, Insane New Life Impressionist Black Souls)
Huron to Kinzie, Laramie to Lavergne (E.M.G/Erie Money Gang, Insane Black Soul Outlaws)
Cicero to Lavergne, Superior to Kinzie (Rollin 5000 Cicero Nation, Insane Solid Black Souls)
East Garfield Park neighborhood Established 1962-present years
Decks of East Garfield Park
Fulton to Lake, Central Park to Homan (Gangster Black Souls)
Fulton to Lake, Kedzie to Sacramento (New Life Black Souls)
Washington to Madison, Homan to California (Gangster Black Souls and Mad Black Souls) Established 1962-present years
Flournoy to Lexington, Kedzie to Sacramento
Madison to Jackson, Sacramento to Kedzie (M.S.B/Madison Soul Brothers, Insane Black Soul Brothers)
Madison to Jackson, Homan to Central Park Ave (H.S.B/Homan Soul Brothers, Insane Black Soul Brothers)
Fulton to Warren, Kedzie to Homan (Newport Short Gang, Insane Black Soul Outlaws)
Carrol to Warren, Sacramento to Kedzie (F.S.B/Fulton Soul Block, Insane Black Soul Outlaws)
Madison to Jackson, Kedzie to Central Park Ave (5th City, Insane Solid Black Souls)
Carrol to Lake, Sacramento to California (Rollin 3000 Quiet Mobb, Insane Solid Black Souls)
5th and Sacramento (Gangster Black Souls, Shared with New Breeds and Gangster Disciples)
Fulton & California (Mad Black Souls)
Walnut & Kedzie ( Mad Black Souls)
Wilcox & Washtenaw (Mad Black Souls)
Arthington & Central Park Ave
5th & Albany
Near West Side neighborhood Established 1991-late 1990s
Decks of Near West Side
Rockwell Gardens projects
North Lawndale neighborhood 60s-present years
Decks of North Lawndale
14th to 16th, Kostner to Tripp (K Town Souls, Gangster Black Souls, 16th and Kostner shared with New Breeds)
16th to Cermak, Avers to Harding (A.M.G/Avers Money Gang, shared with Conservative Vice Lords Insane New Life Impressionist Black Souls)
16th to Ogden, Homan to Sawyer
16th & Kilbourn
Decks of South Shore
Oglesby from 69th to 70th (0.S.B/Oglesby Soul Block, Insane Black Soul Brothers)
West Garfield Park neighborhood 1968-present years
Decks of West Garfield Park
Washington to Monroe, Kostner to Karlov (Impressionist Black Souls and Mad Black Souls)
Wilcox to Gladys, Pulaski to Springfield
Monroe from Karlov to Pulaski (Mad Black Souls)
Madison to Jackson, Pulaski to Kostner (Rollin 4000 D-Block, Insane Solid Black Souls)
Adams & Pulaski
5th and Kostner
West End & Kilbourn
West Humboldt Park neighborhood Established 1968-mid-1970s
Decks of West Humboldt Park
Monticello and Ohio (Mad Black Souls) Established 1968-mid-1970s
Summit (Argo projects)