Ridgeway Lords
Ridgeway Lords

Ridgeway Lords

Founded Founded in 1964 by Al Gossage in or near South Lawndale: Little Village
Founding story

Founded in the Little Village section of South Lawndale

Affiliations Folk Nation — 1980 – give;
Colors Black and Dark blue
Primary ethnicities Latino (Mexican) and White
Symbols Cross, 3 Slashes, Shield, Lion, and Playboy Bunny
Symbol usage

Cross with three slashes, shield with two lions, playboy bunny with bent ear

Status Extinct

The Ridgeway Lords took formation in the year 1964 at the intersection of 31st and Ridgeway in the Little Village neighborhood.  Al Gossage was the founder and long time leader of the RLs alongside “Brim.”  Al Gossage was a legend on the streets that could take down groups of rivals in a fight all at once.  The Ridgeway Lords often hung outside Gary Elementary at 31st and Lawndale.  I am not sure who all the rivals of the RLs were in the neighborhood but in these days the RLs were tight with Latin Kings and Latin Kings and Ridgeway Lords rose to become the largest gangs in the neighborhood in the mid-60s after the Gaylords moved out and the Outlaws Motorcycle club began staying out of street business once they became 1%ers.  The Ridgway Lords had a war going on with the Taylor Sharks in the neighborhood who were a gang that had migrated to the neighborhood from the Near West Side.

Because the Ridgeway Lords formed along the 31st Street corridor and hung out there they often drifted into the nearby suburb of Cicero which caused the gangs from Cicero to become enraged over their presence.  The Arch Dukes were the biggest gang in Cicero that became especially furious and a vicious war ensued.  The Ridgeway Lords did not care if they were not welcomed into Cicero they still showed up anyway and hung out as they pleased.  Eventually they frequented Cicero bars and some members even moved into the suburb.  Cicero police began to investigate Ridgeway Lords by 1967 if they crossed the border as even Cicero police were upset with RL presence.

The RLs were fighting with the Taylor Sharks that migrated there from the Little Italy area.  I came across a news article from 1966 in which a Taylor Shark shot a Ridgeway Lord in the chest once with a .22 caliber pistol and fled onto a bus, the RL died of the gunshot wound (Chicago Tribune Page 17, June 13, 1966).

The Ridgeway Lords took on more of the hippie style in the late 60s and through the 1970s which was a style of growing your hair long and partying very hard.  Ridgeway Lords were known for being really tough and fearless while also throwing wild parties and drinking a lot and using some drugs.  The Ridgeway Lords were perhaps the toughest hippie type group in Chicago and were very feared by many.

Ever since the very beginning Ridgeway Lords took in Hispanic members but during the 1960s they were predominately a white organization, by the mid-1970s the RLs were about half Hispanic.

In 1972, when the Two Six gang formed in the neighborhood, Ridgeway Lords became enemies with them as they fought alongside the Latin Kings against them. The RLs also loved to fight against Cicero gangs in the 60s and by 1972 they were fighting Noble Knights, Arch Dukes, Berwyn Kings and Cicero Esquires.  Ridgeway Lords loved to hang out in Cicero even though they never colonized the community.  For some reason RLs just loved this town and if I am not mistaken they liked to hang out at 26th and 61st Ave in Cicero, even though it wasn’t an official territory.

At some point the RLs spread down the block to 24th and Lawndale then they opened a big set at 27th and Kedvale which became their stronghold.  The mid-70s was the peak of Ridgeway Lord strength and from the mid-60s until the later 1970s the Ridgeway Lords and Latin Kings ran Little Village.

In the year 1976, the long standing relationship between Latin Kings and Ridgeway Lords came to an abrupt end when the Latin Kings violently murdered a member of the Ridgeway Lords.  The war was very intense as both gangs shook the neighborhood during this brutal gang war.  In this year Latin Kings led a member of the Ridgeway Lords to Limas Park at 24th and Trumbull to drink some beers.  The Latin Kings then surprisingly pulled out a gun and shot the RL in the head as his brain matter and blood splattered all over a nearby sandbox.

In the year 1980, the Ridgeway Lords squashed their wars with Two Six, Two Two Boys and Satan Disciples as they joined the Folk alliance in 1980 in prison as some key members were incarcerated.  Ridgeway Lords became especially close with Two Six and Satan Disciples as they drew up a street alliance called “Lords Two Six Disciples” or “L.T.D.”  A year later in 1981, the Ridgeway Lords were officially Folks on the streets.  The early 80s would be the last of the best years for the Ridgeway Lords as their numbers began to slowly decline as Two Six numbers grew.

In the mid-80s Ridgeway Lord numbers began to decline faster as recruitment was mainly gravitating toward the Two Sixs as they now were running Little Village along with their enemies the Latin Kings.  Many members of the Ridgeway Lords were facing incarceration by this time too which added to their decline.  RLs were now only operating at 27th and Kedvale.  Heroin addiction took hold of some higher up members which caused some of their key members to face prison time or become non-functioning due to the drug’s hold on them.  RLs were well-known party animals in the 60s, 70s and 80s and it seemed to catch up to some of their members.

In the year 1988, the Satan Disciples and Two Sixs went to war which broke up the L.T.D alliance.  RLs had a closer relationship with Satan Disciples especially since the Two Sixs and RLs were arch enemies from 1972 until 1980.  Although the RLs were closer to SDs it didn’t mean they were going to take up arms against Two Six necessarily but Two Six didn’t like this friendship and this led to the shooting death of Jimmy Gender, a high ranking Ridgeway Lord.  Being a much smaller gang than both Two Six and SDs the RLs realized they could no longer withstand a war with Two Six and made the decision to close their last territory as most members joined the ranks of the Satan Disciples.  A small group of RLs refused to join SDs but still lived in the neighborhood but knew they could no longer hold an established territory.  Even though they had no established territory the Ridgeway Lords continued to actively gang bang in Little Village throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.  The group was an older group of guys but continued to be a force to be reckoned with.

In the year 1992, the Ridgeway Lords began to slow down operations more in Little Village as their members began moving to the suburb of Justice in the mobile homes located at 79th and 88th.  This mobile home area was a one way in and one way out subdivision which made ideal for gangbanging and trapping incoming enemies.  This subdivision was known to have heavy gang activity and the Ridgeway Lords were a big part of it beginning in 1992 for the next 4-5 years.

By 1994, the Ridgeway Lords completely closed their operations in Little Village and focused everything on Justice.  This was perhaps the Justice chapter’s peak of success.  During this same year the Almighty Popes street gangs formed in the Midway area then quickly spread to Burbank, Bridgeview and Justice.  This started a big war between Almighty Popes and Ridgeway Lords.

By the mid-1990s they were looking to open new territory in the midway area in the city in the Clearing neighborhood.  This action upset the rival Almighty Popes that happened to have territory in nearby Bridgeview, Summit and Burbank and Justice so bad blood was there especially stemming from the mobile homes gang wars between the two in Justice.  The drama between RLs and APs unfolded in December of 1995 when RLs were mentioned in the deadly shooting of two 13 year old girls in Clearing that were gunned down by Almighty Pope gang members at 62nd and Melvina. No Ridgeway Lords were harmed and they were never heard from again.  The APs were mad that RLs were trying to colonize the area which was the motive for the shooting.

By 1996, shortly after being mentioned in the paper in the midst of the shootings of the two 13 year old girls in Clearing the Ridgeway Lords ceased operations in the suburb as rumor has it that members became addicted to heroin which was the similar fate of the Little Village Ridgeway Lords back in the 1970s and 1980s.  The RLs that stayed away from drugs joined the ranks of the Satan Disciples from nearby 87th Street, thus ending the Ridgeway Lord legacy.

The Ridgeway Lords left behind a major legacy of being some very tough gangsters as they fought on some of the meanest streets of Chicago.

Please send in  1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pics!

Questions:

What year did the Justice section start and what year did it shut down?