Founded Founded in or near Douglas
Founding story

Founded at Oakland/Douglas Ida B. Wells projects

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Colors Yellow and Purple
Primary ethnicities African American
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Status Extinct

The Ida B. Wells housing projects were finished being built in January of 1941 and the first African American families moved into these mid-rise and low rise projects and the buildings were like paradise for the black families that moved in that previously lived among the severely dilapidated slum buildings along the “Black Belt.”  White residents and business owners in the Oakland neighborhood were extremely upset that these projects were being built and put up protests that caused delays in the construction of the projects and despite the fact that the protests happened; the projects were still completed as the first all-black project in Chicago, this did not stop the hateful backlash of the white community in Oakland and nearby neighborhoods of whites.

Gangs of white youths surrounded the projects and taunted and attacked black youths this brought about the need for neighborhood protection.  The Deacons street gang was the ultimate solution to protect the Ida B Wells area in the 1940s.  The Deacons became the largest gang in the Oakland and Douglas areas.  The Deacons acted as the alpha gang in the area and even organized gang fights at 37th and Vernon in a park.  The Deacons even arranged what type of weapons would be used in the fight, if any.  The Deacons main African American gang enemies were the Destroyers and the 13 Cats.

By the late 1940s the Deacons became more popular of a gang and that is when they began outnumbering all the other gangs in the area and they established full control of the Ida B. Wells projects.  The Deacons were not dope dealers nor were they really even killers, they were fighters, warriors and leaders among the youths but they were gangsters in a way that wore colors and painted graffiti on the walls.

The Deacons began spreading their influence into the rest of Bronzeville in the Oakland, Douglas and Grand Boulevard neighborhoods.  The Deacons also made their way over to the west side of Chicago and had some influence in those neighborhoods transitioning from white to black.

The 1950s was the peak time for the Deacons and they swelled to over 1,000 members in Bronzeville and the west side.  The early 1960s would mark the beginning of the end for the Deacons as a more violent breed of gangs began fighting the Deacons at the borders of Bronzeville.  Gangs like Black Stone Rangers and Devil’s Disciples were a part of a new breed of gangs that were willing to kill rivals to gain territory; some members of the Deacons began flipping to Disciples or Rangers.

In the mid-1960s the Deacons began losing territory and more numbers in the Bronzeville area as Rangers and Disciples became larger organizations than the Deacons.

On the west side Vice Lords were taking apart any Deacons that spread there, now the Deacons were weakened significantly and more members were flipping to Rangers, Supreme Gangsters or Disciples.

By the late 1960s the last of the Deacons were taken apart because they did not fit in with the new breed of violent killers and dope dealers that made up the newer street gangs like Black P Stones, Vice LordsBlack Disciples and Gangsters.  The last of the young Deacons all flipped to Stones, Disciples and Gangsters and the Ida B Wells fell under Stone and Disciple control.

Please send in 1940s, 1950s and 1960s pics!


  1.  What exact year did the Deacons form?
  2. Who was the founder?  What happened to him?
  3. What was the first street corner the Deacons started at?
  4. What was the time line of leaders?
  5. What street corners did the Deacons run and what year did each start and close up?
  6. What year did the Deacons go extinct?