|Founded||Founded in 1962 in or near New City (Back of the Yards)|
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 Old Town area during urban renewal projects in the city. Some Puerto Rican people came to the Back of the Yard 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 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 and Rangers and Disciples.
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 and 1967, 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 (then began being known as Black Disciples). Both gangs also fought the newly arrived Gaylords that became the biggest white gang presence in the area.
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. Very shortly after this shooting happened in 1970 the Emerald Knights and Village Sharks combined forced with Mexican youths in the neighborhood to form the Latin Souls at the later part of the year. Hector “Pancho” Sanchez was the main one that helped assemble this unity. Pancho was originally from the East Garfield Park area and had a friendship with Black Souls founder Horace “King Pee Wee” Willis. In 1970 Pee Wee was shot to death by Chicago Police as his back was turned which was a great injustice, his mother sued the city and won because Pee Wee was unarmed and shot over 30 times in the back. Black Souls and Latin Souls had some of the same issues in common and this brought them a unity called “440+.”
In 1972, the families of the Latin Souls moved out of the southern part of the neighborhood and migrated to the central part the Back of The Yards to 48th Street and 51st and Ada area and this is where they bumped into a gang called the “Saints” that were a mixture of Polish and Mexican youths. Right away the Saints from 45th and Wood did not take kindly to the Latin Soul’s presence and started a war with them. The war became real vicious real quick. These two were fighting over who was going to be the big shot Hispanic gang in the neighborhood. Now the Latin Soul cause shifted from racial issues to rivalry with the Saints. The Latin Kings from 57th and Halsted also migrated north in 1972 and landed in the same vicinity in northern Back of Yards which rekindled that war. The Latin Kings came to 51st and Ada area as well which is were war with Kings was bad. At 48th to 49th it was with the Saints, at 51st it was against the Latin Kings. The Latin Kings were also at 52nd and Marshfield allied with the Black P Stones; therefore, Latin Soul’s war with the Black P stones intensified.
In the year 1976 the new Black Soul leader Wayne “Jack Bobo” Edwards temporarily moved into the Back of The Yards neighborhood quite possibly for the reason of doing business with Latin Souls there. Whatever, his motive was for being there he ended up making a business deal with the Latin Souls. I theorize that deal was for the Latin Souls to watch over his drug operation in the neighborhood but that is just theory for now. As a result of this business deal Jack Bobo connected the Latin Souls to his Mad Black Souls from the west side. Both Mad Black Souls and Latin Souls adopted the “440+ concept” and now “440” would appear in both Latin Soul and MBS gang symbols. This further solidified the relationship between Black Souls and Latin Souls.
In the year 1980 the Latin Souls joined the Folk alliance alongside their closest ally Two Six that had also migrated to the area in 1977. Latin Souls were now strong allies in the neighborhood with Two Six, Satan Disciples and Two Two Boys.
Between the 1970s and 1980s the Latin Souls were at 48th and Hermitage “Chief Town,” 49th and Marshfield “Murderfield,” 50th and Hermitage “formerly Chief Town” in the Back of The Yards.
In the 1980s the Latin Souls spread to 57th and Trumbull (Senka Park) in the Gage Park neighborhood. The Souls opened up in Marquette Park at 65rd and Sacramento “Skinny Town” and 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. They also moved “Chief Town from 50th to 48th but I do not know the story of that or the story of the lost territory in their other areas. The Latin Souls do not have much turf in the Back of The Yards but they have retained several soldiers on the turf they do have that has numbered in the hundreds.
Please send in old school pics. 1950s , 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?