Latin Souls
Latin Souls

Latin Souls

Founded Founded in 1962 by Hector Sanchez in or near New City (Back of the Yards)
Founding story

Founded in the Back Of The Yards section of New City neighborhood near 55th and Halsted

Affiliations Folk Nation — 1987 – 2000 or later;
Colors Black and Maroon
Primary ethnicities Latino (Puerto Rican)
Symbols Gothic Cross, 3 Dots, and 440+
Symbol usage

Gothic/medieval cross with 3 dots, “440+” 1975-present

Status Active

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.

The story traces back to the East Garfield Park community when two boys became good friends in this community.  One of the boys was African American named Horace “King Pee Wee” Willis, the other boy was Puerto Rican named Hector “Pancho” Sanchez.  Hector was living in the small Puerto Rican settlement that moved to the neighborhood in the 1950s but as Puerto Rican people were moving out in the early 1960s Hector and his family moved along with this migration.  Hector and Horace agreed to keep their friendship and never let it die.  Horace Willis would go on to found the “Black Souls” street gang in 1962 that we know today.  Hector founded the Latin Souls that same year at Halsted and Garfield Boulevard at the edge of the Back of the Yards neighborhood.  Both boys chose “Souls” as the last name to signify their alliance to each other even though they lived on different parts of the city.  This is also how the Latin Souls and Black Souls developed a sacred connection with each other throughout the years.

The reason for the Latin Souls being formed was because of the constant invasions from Black Stone Rangers and Devil’s Disciples around Garfield Boulevard.  The Rangers and Disciples were fighting a nasty war with each other and as they crossed each other’s turf they often wondered north and prayed upon Hispanic youths north of Garfield Boulevard.  Hector Sanchez brought the Mexican and Puerto Rican youths together as one organization and absorbed a Puerto Rican gang that already existed in the area called the “Village Sharks.”

Englewood was almost completely turned into a black neighborhood with over 75% being African American residents while West Englewood was about 15-20% black at that point in time but was still very Italian.  The Latin Souls were concerned with the part of the border with Englewood.

The new Latin Souls made their territory at 55th and Halsted, and the younger group of Souls the “Emerald Knights” were situated one block away at 55th and Emerald.  A few years later the Latin Souls opened up at 55th and Racine and now had a presence in Sherman Park.  The Latin Souls were on the east side of Sherman Park but on the west side, at 55th and Ashland, the Gaylords had started up at the same time in 1966 and war was on between these two gangs.  The southern part of Back of The Yards was Latin Soul hood until about 1971.

In about 1971, 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 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 Latino gang in the neighborhood.

In the year 1976 Horace Willis was tragically gunned down by Chicago police and 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.

In the early 1980s, the vast majority of street gangs were allied with either the People or Folk nation alliances but in the Back of The Yards this alliance was not necessary because Peoples and Folks were not crawling all over the place.

It was not until the mid-1980s that migrating Latino gangs began to flood the streets of the Back of The Yards and began testing the Saints and Latin Souls.  Gangs like Two Six, Latin Counts, Latin Kings, La Raza, Satan Disciples and others began coming in spreading the word about Folk or People.

In 1987 the Latin Souls made the decision to join the Folk Nation under the wing of the Two Sixs and this unified the Latin Souls with La Raza, Satan Disciples, Black Gangsters Disciples, and former enemies the Black Disciples (formerly known as Devil’s Disciples).

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!


  1. Was Hector Sanchez the leader all the way up until 1995?  If not what was the timeline of leaders up to the year 2000?
  2. What exact year did the Souls abandon 55th Street turf?
  3. What exact year did the Souls set up on 48th and what was that first corner up there?
  4. What year did the war with the Saints start and why?
  5. What started the war with City Knights and what year?
  6. What started the war with La Raza?
  7. What year did war start with SDs and why?
  8. What year did war start with Two Six and why?