|Founded||Founded in 1962 in or near Back of the Yards (New City)|
Founded in the Back Of The Yards section of New City neighborhood near 55th and Halsted
2000 or later;
|Colors||Black and Maroon|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Puerto Rican)|
|Symbols||Gothic Cross, 3 Dots, and 440+|
Gothic/medieval cross with 3 dots, “440+” 1976-present
The Latin Souls are one of the only current gangs that started in the Back of The Yards section of the New City neighborhood. Most other gangs besides old extinct white greaser gangs, migrated to the neighborhood and were not started there.
In the year 1962, several Puerto Rican people were displaced from neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and the Near West Side in the midst of urban renewal projects in the city. Some Puerto Rican people came to the Back of the Yards community due to affordability and because Mexican people had settled the area since the 1910s decade. Puerto Rican families were also dotted in the majority black community of Englewood and had some settlement in the mostly white community of West Englewood. Many white youths in northern West Englewood had hostile feelings toward this new migration wave as did white greasers along Garfield Boulevard (55th Street) which divided Back of the Yards from each Englewood neighborhood. The Back of the Yards housed some of the most dangerous and fearless greaser clubs in the city and Garfield Boulevard became a war zone since the 1950s. Gangs like the Rebels had a very strong presence over here and this just so happened to be the location of this Puerto Rican settlement. The nucleus of this Puerto Rican settlement was in the southeast side of Back of the Yards and northeast side of Englewood in the vicinity of Garfield Boulevard (55th) and Halsted. The newly arrived Puerto Rican families soon found themselves victims to attacks from white greaser gangs. Not only were they attacked by whites, blacks from Englewood also attacked Puerto Rican youths, primarily Blackstone Rangers and Devil’s Disciples.
In that year of 1962, Puerto Rican youths assembled an organization designed to protect the Puerto Rican community from attacks, this formed the Village Sharks. The Village Sharks made Garfield Boulevard and Halsted their territory as they battled white gangs, Rangers and Disciples. The Village Sharks soon became a well-known club to early Back of the Yards greasers in the 1960s as Village Sharks were often seen in Sherman Park and in local bars. The Village Sharks were a heavy hitting club that had no fear of these white greaser gangs. Village Sharks fought the Settlement and other well known clubs in the neighborhood.
On the north side of the city in the Lakeview community a similar group with a similar cause formed called the Emerald Knights. Village Sharks and Emerald Knights had family ties even though they lived on opposite sides of the city. Emerald Knights were dealing head on with discrimination from this white community as well and were fighting back. In the year 1964, the majority of the Emerald Knights became Latin Eagles, a well-known organization still in existence today.
In the year 1964, the Latin Kings moved to 57th and Halsted, just two blocks from the Sharks. The two gangs did not get along despite fighting for the same cause and this began the long history of war with Latin Kings.
During another Puerto Rican migration wave in 1966, several Puerto Rican families landed on the south side of the city and among them was members of the Emerald Knights that never had flipped to Latin Eagles. Emerald Knights coincidentally moved one block from the Sharks at Garfield Boulevard and Emerald. The Emerald Knights just so happened to have the same name as their new street which often caused misunderstandings of Soul history because of this but it was just sheer coincidence. Emerald Knights soon found the same conflicts with Latin Kings, Blackstone Rangers and Devil’s Disciples. Both gangs also fought the newly arrived Gaylords that became the biggest white gang presence in the area around Sherman Park.
Shortly after the arrival of the Emerald Knights an alliance was developed between the Sharks and Knights and within not much time later the Sharks joined the ranks of the Emerald Knights in the later 1960s.
Racial tensions worsened by 1970 between Devil’s Disciples (now Black Disciples) and the Emerald Knights. an October 6, 1970 Chicago Tribune article reported a shooting in Englewood between Devil’s Disciples and Emerald Knights that was racially motivated. The Knights killed a Disciple and wounded another while the Disciples only shot one of the Knights in the foot.
I am going to tell this next part of the story the best I can with what little info I have ever been given about how the Emerald Knights of this neighborhood became Latin Souls. It had to have happened between 1971-1972. From what I understand the Emerald Knights found common ground with the Mexican youths in this area that had animosity with the black and white gangs in the southern Back of the Yards area. The Emerald Knights then came together with Mexican youths, thus, making their organization go from Puerto Rican to a mix of Puerto Rican and Mexican as they established the Latin Souls by 1972. In the early days Latin Souls celebrated the Hispanic union of both cultures in their murals and their sweaters.
In the year 1980, Back of the Yards experienced a sudden surge in Mexican migration which began turning this neighborhood from a mostly white to mostly Hispanic area. The Latin Souls moved off 55th and Halsted during this move as they joined the migrating wave. The 55th and Halsted area and all along 55th had become a black community; therefore, holding down a Hispanic gang became impossible as especially Moe Town Black P Stones ran that area in very heavy numbers. The Latin Souls now established themselves at 51st and Hermitage area putting them in direct competition with the Saints. This was the creation of the area the Latin Souls named “Chief Town.”
in 1980, alongside the Hispanic migration wave came gangs from other parts of the city like Two Six, Two Two Boys and Satan Disciples. The Two Two Boys and Satan Disciples settled very close at 51st and Wood and began hanging out regularly with Latin Souls. Ambrose also came to visit 51st and Wood hanging out with these groups too. The Bishops and Latin Kings moved into the neighborhood the same year and all these gangs teamed up against Bishops and Latin Kings. There were also several partly crews that formed in this neighborhood in 1980 like Latin Taste, Latin Image, 48th Street Boys and City Knights. This created a major competition for gang territory in this neighborhood as gang fought over streets, parks, schools and rec areas. Saints elected to have no allies as they fought People nation gangs like Bishops and Latin Kings as they also fought Folks like Satan Disciples and Two Six. This meant Latin Souls, Two Two Boys, Two Six and Satan Disciples had to go against Saints, Bishops and Latin Kings and some of the party crews too. In 1981 as Folk and People spread to the streets the Latin Souls and Two Two Boys were enticed to join the Folk alliance alongside their allies. Latin Souls joined Folks either by Ambrose or Two Six.
After turning Folks the Latin Souls grew in popularity and by the later part of the 1980s the Souls reached their peak as Latin Souls now controlled 48th to 51st from Wolcott to Marshfield. Saints and Latin Souls now were the biggest names in the neighborhood as they engaged in a very violent and vicious gang war that cost many lives.
In the year 1995, the Latin Souls spread to 57th and Trumbull (Senka Park) in the Gage Park neighborhood. The Souls opened up in Marquette Park at 65th and Sacramento “Skinny Town” in 1995 after Ambrose invited them in due to weapons and drug deals between the two gangs, this brought the Souls into a war with the Party People. Souls would also settle at 63rd and Karlov in the West Ridge neighborhood.
The unity among Folks did not last long and soon interalliance wars were running rampant on the streets of Chicago and the Latin Souls got caught up in a war with La Raza in 1995, over time, the Latin Souls would end up at war with Two Sixs, City Knights and Satan Disciples by the turn of the 21st century.
The founder of the Latin Souls Hector Sanchez died of a heart attack in 1995 after over 30 years of leadership.
Over time the Latin Souls lost their satellite territories in Gage Park, Marquette Park and West Ridge. Chief Town territories also changed boundaries over time.
Please send in old school pics. 1960s 1970s pics will be especially appreciated! Please send Village Sharks and Emerald Knight pics!
- What started the war with City Knights and what year?
- What started the war with La Raza?
- What year did war start with SDs and why?
Known sections of Latin Souls past and present
Back of the Yards neighborhood
Sections of Back of the Yards
48th to 51th, Wolcott to Marshfield (Chief Town, Murderfield) Established 1980
55th & Halsted Established 1962 as Village Sharks, 1966 as Emerald Knights, closed 1980
55th & Racine (Sherman Park)
Sections of Gage Park
57th & Trumbull
Marquette Park neighborhood Established 1995-2000s
Sections of Marquette Park
65th & Sacramento (Skinny Town) Established 1995-2000s
Sections of Mt. Greenwood
111th & Homan
Sections of West Lawn
63rd & Karlov 90s