Founded Founded in 1956 in or near East Humboldt Park (part of West Town)
Affiliations Give details
Colors Give details
Primary ethnicities White
Symbols Joker Face
Status Extinct

The Jokers are probably one of the toughest white greaser type gangs to have every walked the streets of Chicago.  The Jokers were formed in the year 1956 on the streets of East Humboldt Park after having issues with the Simon City gang that had formed west of Humboldt Park.  In the late 50s through the mid-1960s the Jokers and Simon City ruled the Humboldt Park area and were bitter rivals.  The Jokers formed in the southern part of East Humboldt Park at the intersection of Cortez and Wabansia.  By the 1960s the Jokers turf had grown to be between Division to Chicago Avenue and Western Avenue to California which encompassed the entire southern sector of the community.

In the year 1960, the Jokers were the first gang to confront what was to become the Latin Kings.  The Latin Kings had just formed at Ohio and Spaulding in West Humboldt Park which angered the Joker’s Warlord “Todge” who then walked to Spaulding and Ohio and threatened to beat up this new groups called the “Kings” if they did not disband.  The Kings would eventually become the Latin Kings in 1964 and the rivarly would continue between Latin Kings and Jokers.  This shows deep history of connection between Jokers and Latin Kings.

The Jokers were allies with Chi-West and were even featured in a December 1962 Chicago Tribune article that talked about a gang fight in which Chi-West and the Jokers teamed up together to fight the Latin Angels and Spanish Kings who were two newly formed Hispanic gangs in the neighborhood.

Overall the Hispanic community in Humboldt Park feared the Jokers who were known for being dangerous.  I had heard there was a newspaper from the 1960s that declared the Jokers to be as dangerous as the Vice Lords.  One thing I do know for sure is multiple former Humboldt Park area gang members and residence told stories of how they were crazy and dangerous.  The Hispanic community was within the West Humboldt Park area exclusively until 1963 when Hispanic migration began in northern East Humboldt Park.  It was in this area that Latin Kings settled at Maplewood and Wabansia and Division and California.  Division and California was right at the corner border of the Jokers which created major gang conflicts.

By the later 1960s northern East Humboldt Park was now Hispanic as white flight had run its course and now Hispanics were settling south of Division into Joker territory.  This is when the Joker’s peak was declining and many members were moving out of the community alongside white flight.  The Jokers remained very active during these years even with reduced numbers.

In the year 1970, the Dragons, a Hispanic gang started in Joker territory which set off a rivalry but by then the Jokers were reduced in numbers even more and their territory had shrunk.  The early 70s years were the last of the hey day for the Jokers and by 1975 the Jokers had left East Humboldt Park leaving the area to the Dragons that later became the Insane Dragons.

Known sections of the Jokers

East Humboldt Park Established 1956-1975

Sections of East Humboldt Park

Division to Chicago Ave, Western Ave to California Street