Roseland
Roseland

Roseland

Origins Settled in 1849 and annexed c. 1892
Area Far Southeast Side
Boundaries

87th Street (87th and Holland mainly) going down to 91st Street to Burnside Avenue on the north, 115th Street on the south, South Cottage Grove Avenue on the east, railroad tracks just east of Eggleston Avenue to 103rd Street to Halsted Street on the west

Gangs headquartered Gangster Disciples, Black P Stones, Vice Lords, Four Corner Hustlers, Black Disciples,

This area was first settled in the year 1849 as Dutch immigrants who came here to settle this prairie land for the purpose of farming.  The area soon became a truck farm town known as “High Prairie” as stores were built along present-day Michigan Avenue. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

In the year 1873 James H. Bowen discussed with the town locals that he was preparing to construct his ironworks company in nearby South Chicago and during these discussions he came up with the name “Roseland” because of the many beautiful flowers in the community.  Bowen also owned acres of land in Roseland, and he sold a portion of it to George M. Pullman in 1880 so Pullman could build his car factory in the nearby Pullman neighborhood. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

As Pullman and nearby Kensington were built up, the stores on Michigan Avenue served as the shopping district for the area and so began the tight relationship between residents of Roseland, Pullman, Burnside, Riverdale and West Pullman. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

In the year 1883 the subdivision of “Fernwood” was built up in west Roseland that extended into nearby Washington Heights, this was more of an upper middle class to upper class neighborhood and once had a beautiful garden parkway. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

In the year 1892 Roseland was officially annexed into the city of Chicago and by this decade the neighborhood was well known for its many retail stores that served communities all around them.  The Dutch were the first settlers in the area and made up the dominating ethnic group but now in the 1890s Roseland was a mix of many different ethnic groups with no real dominating group. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

By the time World War I came around residents began to leave the older parts of Roseland between 91st Street and 95th Street from State Street to the railroad tracks which consisted of older and less valued homes and also vacant lots, this area began being settled by a small enclave of African Americans that numbered more than 1,200, this community became known as “Lilydale.” The South End Businessmen’s Association tried to push sociologists at the University Of Chicago to redraw the Roseland boundaries to exclude the Lilydale neighborhood and make it a part of Chatham but it did not pass because white residents of Chatham would surely be upset.  The next attempt to segregate African Americans came in that same decade of the 1920s when real estate agents and homeowners in the interest of selling property tried to convince new housing developers to not sell to African Americans because they were not wanted in the community as the white community did have a restrictive covenant in place. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

This neighborhood got its first brush with crime when many residents began home brewing illegal alcohol for Al Capone; however, this operation generated lots of revenue for the community and began one of the economic lifelines for Roseland.  In the early 1930s this was the most sustainable income for the community as the early days of the Great Depression era which caused many workers in the community to lose their jobs and community banks and business closed down, but then in 1934 when alcohol was made fully legal the bootlegging business in the community collapsed as well and Roseland was hit hard economically in the latter half of the 1930s because of the depression. (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

The 1940s era brought positive and negative to the Roseland community.  The outbreak of World War II by 1942 made for many war industry jobs in Chicago which meant many Roseland residents got back on their feet and back to work.  The employment opportunities also brought more south side African Americans work and blacks moving from the southern United States now could take advantage of the thriving war industry in Chicago.  (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html)

In 1942 African American contractors Matthew Goodwin and Duke Hodges began the construction of low-cost houses in the Lilydale community, these homes were low cost but made well of solid brick.  In the same year of 1942 the Chicago Housing Authority began construction of the Lowden Homes housing project between 91st Street and 95th Street and Wentworth Avenue to Eggleston Avenue which offered housing to impoverished black families that moved from the south to work in the war industry, the construction of these projects came under heavy protest from the white residents in the community, regardless, the projects were completed in 1943.  In this same area where the Lowden Homes were being built Donald O’Toole constructed the Princeton Park subdivision that was built all around the projects with affordable low cost homes for African Americans and was only sold to African Americans; however, whites had no interest in moving to Princeton Park, in fact, they were rapidly moving out of their older homes in Princeton Park due to real estate agents using the block busting tactics to scare them out of their homes and more African Americans arrived during and right after the war (Fact source, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1094.html).  To put this in perspective the Fernwood projects had 67 apartments and only 8 of those were occupied by black families and from just a mere 8 apartments being settled by black set off these bitter feelings and violence.  (Fact source, https://casetext.com/case/slaton-v-city-of-chicago).

During all the construction for African American housing in 1943 many white Roseland residents joined white Riverdale residents, white Pullman residents and white West Pullman residents to protest against the construction of the Altgeld Gardens housing project in Riverdale.  The petition against it collected 11,000 signatures but the petition was still thrown out, then in August of 1947 the white residents in these communities stormed the area of 98th and Halsted and 111th and Halsted to massively protest a new housing project built around 104th and Halsted called the Fernwood Park housing project which was meant for returning African American World War II veterans and their families.  White residents violently rioted and beat several African Americans as they even violently attacked the police, this became one of the worst race riots in history and the African Americans were the victims, it was especially upsetting that the blacks that were targeted in these projects were veterans that served our country.  The CPD did not do much to stop the riots because they more than likely sympathized with the white protesters until over 1,000 police officers were ordered to put down the riot and make several arrests.  One of the biggest reasons for the riot was that it was expected that the African American community stay to the north of 95th Street, taking up only the northern portion on the neighborhood.  (Fact source, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernwood_Park_race_riot)

By the year 1950 18.4% of the Roseland community was black after the Lowden projects were fully opened and Lilydale was developed.  This was a jump from the 4.2% in 1940.  As a result of the Fernwood project construction blacks began to migrate to Fernwood subdivision in the later 1940s. (Fact source, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernwood_Park_race_riot)

In the 1950s-decade black migration was slow as the community began to somewhat accept that whites and blacks needed to live together in this community.  In the 1960 census the black population had only grown from 18.4% to 22.6%.  Greaser gangs formed in the Roseland community in the 1950s, but they seemed like they did not form along racial lines especially since black migration slowed, and these youths likely grew up with blacks in their community.  The greaser gangs became significant later.

Beginning in the year 1964 crooked block busting real estate agents started again pushing many white families to sell their homes to live in the suburbs while providing false realities that blacks were going to take over.  Since 1 in 4 residents were African American by then it was an easy sell to many gullible homeowners and soon white flight began another wave in 1964.  This allowed more black families to move to Roseland of both middle class and lower income class.  With this new wave came more resentment and anger from much of the white community and the riots and racial violence began once again but this time it was not in any media outlets.

Much of the white community in Burnside, Roseland and Pullman banded together to attempt to stop the spread of African Americans and this resulted in several acts of violence against blacks in Roseland but some residents reacted by simply moving out of the neighborhood especially since many whites were being suckered by real estate block busting tactics.

Some community leaders tried to ease the transition from white to black in the community to prevent economic disparity and this worked for quite some time as the community even still had upper class residents living here as far as the mid-1970s accompanied by several working-class white families; however, the fear caused by block busting and disinvestment eventually won by the end of the 60s.

In the year 1964 as the rioting and violence ensued the Devil’s Disciples and Syndicate Blackstone Rangers came to Roseland mainly in the 95th street area to assist the black community dealing with violence and prejudices.   This is how Black P Stones and Disciples ended up in Roseland. Both groups would clash with one another as they also fought against angry white gangs, angry white gangs were plentiful during this time.  The Disciples were in Princeton Park and Lilydale and the Stones had the Lowden projects.  This settlement was the starting point for the entire settlement of Disciples and Stones from 87th street heading all the way south the southern edge of the city limits and even into the south suburbs.

The first main drug dealer and syndicate individual in Roseland was an individual nicknamed “Brick.”  In the 95th street area black youths admired this older guy in his 40s as he drove around in expensive cars and had lots of money.  Many black youths connected to gangs, especially the Syndicate Rangers worked for Brick moving his drugs around the community for a cut of the profits.  To many of these youths, both Rangers and Disciples they found Brick to be an undesirable even though they often worked for him to make a little extra money.  Brick was viewed as a problem for the black community spreading drugs in the neighborhood.  Brick would operate for some years, but his reign ended in 1968 when a 17-year-old youth ran him out.

In the summer of 1968, 17-year-old Ulysses Floyd (U.S.) rose through the ranks of the Syndicate Blackstone Rangers to the point where he was running the Lowden projects Rangers.  In that summer of 1968 Andrew Howard of the Supreme Gangsters brought Ulysses Floyd to see Larry Hoover, the leader and founder of the Supreme Gangsters to meeting at 68th and Green in Englewood at a park.  At this park Ulysses Floyd agreed to join the Supreme Gangsters as a Chief or Supreme Chief and established the Gangsters in Roseland at 95th Street and build from there.  Floyd not only put the Gangsters in Roseland, his influence spread all the way up to 79th Street.  After these many Syndicate Rangers and Disciples flipped to his branch of “Outlaw Supreme Gangsters that now established themselves very well in the northern Roseland area.  Black migration was growing stronger by 1968 and advancing south of 95th Street as Disciples, Outlaw Gangsters and Black P Stones (formerly Rangers) moved into the higher numbered streets that would soon be known as the “Wild hundreds.”  After Floyd established the Outlaws, he ran Brick out of business as he had to leave the neighborhoods.  Floyd was nearly executed by crooked police officers in the Dan Ryan Woods on behalf of Brick but when they led Floyd go instead Floyd pushed out Brick.  Shortly after Floyd and the Gangsters realized how much money Brick was worth and temptation was too strong for the Gangsters to walk away from all that potential money; therefore, they took over the drug operations; however, they gave back to the community unlike Brick and ran a better operation than Brick.  Outlaw Gangsters also worked well with Disciples and this brought an alliance in 1969 after the B.G.D.N alliance was formed.

The fight between black and white was still a real thing as white street gangs battled against blacks in the neighborhood; however, when the police came to break up the fights, they only arrested the blacks because many police in this neighborhood also wanted to keep the community mostly white.  The later 60s, circa 1970, was the height of this racial violence.  Many white families wanted to move out of Roseland during these years but were too impoverished to leave the area; therefore, they took it upon themselves to attempt to mold this community back into an all-white neighborhood but by 1970 Roseland was 55% black.

As black families advanced further south in Roseland the black street gangs acted as guardian angels protecting the black community, thus, making Roseland a rather safe area according to many locals from the 1970s time period.

By the year 1975, white flight had become devastating as the racial wars ended.  Roseland now became a bigger target of red lining tactics as banks now saw the neighborhood was completely black.  In the 1980 census the black population was 97% making this area prime target for redlining.

Beginning in 1977, the local steel mills began to lay off thousands of workers that employed much of the black community in Roseland.  The layoffs were mostly finished by 1980 leaving many families downtrodden and in extreme poverty.  As the redlining and layoffs had worsened by 1980 so did blight and disinvestment in the more eastern and central parts of Roseland that housed the lower income classes and black working classes.  The more western part of Roseland was black middle class.

In the year 1979 after sanctions were handed down by the El Rukns on the Black P Stones many area Black P Stones converted into Four Corner Hustlers, Conservative Vice Lords and Traveling Vice Lords all from the west side and this is how CVLs, TVLs and 4s started in Roseland.  These groups would become very popular on these streets.

Beginning in the early 1980s there began a phenomenon known as “black flight” as middle class black families would leave this neighborhood as crime and gang activity increased. This was mostly apparent in the central and eastern parts of Roseland in an area bounded by: 99th Street on the north, 115th Street on the south, Wentworth Ave on the west and Edbrooke on the east.  This is presently where there is still the most blight in Roseland.  In this area many of the drug and gang wars were the most intense.

Ever since the mid-1980s Roseland has experienced a high amount of repossessed and foreclosed homes.  The Lowden projects became increasingly violent and deteriorated in the 1980s after police and the CHA neglected them, in recent years they had been rehabbed and still stand.

The 1990s was the most violent decade in Roseland as the most shootings were reported and many residents during this period felt the sting of the violence.  Roseland often was regarded as one of the more dangerous and violence Chicago communities.  Much of this is because the gangs stopped taking on a guardian angel role and became only focused on drug sales.  Much of this was caused by incarcerated leadership brought on by overzealous law enforcement RICO packages that took down leadership of the gangs that was vital in keeping young men in line.

In recent years Roseland has seen some rehab and new shopping strips have been put in making the community a better place.  In western Roseland, northern Roseland and southern Roseland houses tend to be better taken care in higher volumes and there are very few shuttered homes.

Roseland still makes many most violent neighborhoods in Chicago lists often scoring in the top 10; however, many middle-class residents care greatly for their community and their homes.

Please note: there is some disagreement that Princeton Park area is not part of Roseland, that is not accurate, Princeton Park is part of Roseland all the way west to the Fernwood Parkway Park area east of Eggleston, this is on official Chicago maps.  Some say Princeton Park is its own Chicago neighborhood which is not possible because there is no official Chicago neighborhood of the 77 listed neighborhoods called “Princeton Park.”

Here is a list of major gangs that have walked these Roseland streets over time:

Black P Stones Established 1964-present years

91st to 95th, Wentworth to Eggleston (Lowden Gardens projects) Established 1964-present years

91st & Harvard (Princeton Park)

100th to 103rd, Dauphin to St. Lawrence (Sin City)

101st & Cottage Grove (shared with Conservative Vice Lords)

103rd & Wallace (10-3)

105th & Halsted

105th & Indiana (Shared with Conservative Vice Lords)

Edbrooke from 105th to 107th

111th & Wentworth

122nd & Elizabeth (El Rukns)

109th & Michigan (The People’s Choice Restaurant, El Rukns)

100th to 103rd, Cottage Grove to State (London Town)

103rd to 107th, Halsted to Eggleston

107th from Michigan to Indiana

113th & Harvard

113th & Eggleston

113th & Michigan (shared with Mickey Cobras)

Four Corner Hustlers Established 1979-present years

103rd to 106th, Cottage Grove to Maryland (Licksquad Risky Road)

107th & Vernon

107th & Champlain (Shared with Conservative Vice Lords)

91st & La Salle

Black Disciples

100th to 101st, State to Michigan (Main City)

104th to 105th, Wallace to Parnell (4 Block Chill City)

109th to 111st, Stewart to Wentworth (PTC Wentworth Mob)

109th to 111st, Wentworth to State (RMG Dirty Perry Wentworth Mob)

110th to 111th, Michigan to Edbrooke (Darkside Scoblock)

107th to 109th, Edbrooke to Prairie (Dblock)

99th & Yale

107th & Perry (Dirty Perry)

Mickey Cobras

106th to 107th, Eggleston to Wentworth (Snake Pit)

Michigan from 111th to 115th (The Hill, shared with Black P Stones and Conservative Vice Lords)

Gangster Disciples Established 1964 as Devil’s Disciples as Outlaw Gangsters 1968, Black Gangster Disciples 1969

92nd & Princeton (Lowden projects) Established as Outlaw Supreme Gangsters 1968-present years

Cottage Grove from 92nd to 93rd

95th from Harvard to Lafayette

103rd from Harvard to Michigan (10 Trey)

103rd & Harvard

Princeton from 102nd to 103rd (G Block)

Princeton from 99th to 101st

Yale from 99th to 103rd

Wentworth from 99th to 103rd

108th & Wentworth

109th & State

110th & Princeton

111th & State

114th & Prairie (Palmer Park)

95th to 98th, Prairie to Martin Luther King

100th to 103rd, Wallace to Eggleston (Lack City)

99th to 101st, Eggleston to Wentworth (Larryland Rico Block)

102nd to 103rd, Wentworth to Perry (Shannon Block Goontown)

102nd to 104th, Michigan to Prairie (VA World Thotboyz rap group)

105th Street from Eggleston to Wentworth (TCG Wentworth Mob)

105th to 106th, Lafayette to Michigan (10-5 MMG Goontown)

110th to 111th, Martin Luther King to Eberhart (UPT Death Valley)

111th to 112th, Parnell to Normal (Roc Block NPG Reno City)

114th to 115th, Stewart to Wentworth (Rookieville RMG Gucci Gang, Formerly Goodman Boys as Insane GDs)

111th to 115th, Indiana to Fort (Palmer Park)

95th to 98th, Yale to LaSalle (095 Mob)

105th & Wallace

110th & Princeton (Outlaw GDs)

111th & Vernon

New Breeds Established 1992-2000s

104th from Eggleston to Wentworth

106th & Wallace

Conservative Vice Lords Established 1979-present years

107th to 108th, Parnell to Stewart (Lordsville)

112th to 113th, Stewart to Wentworth (Aero City)

101st & Cottage Grove (London Town, shared with Black P Stones)

107th & Champlain (share with Four Corner Hustlers)

107th & Eggleston

112th & Perry

111th & Michigan

Traveling Vice Lords Established 1979-present years

112th to 113th, Perry to State (DBC)

107th & Normal

113th from Edbrooke to Indiana (Palmer Park)

All images below are of vacant building at the time of the photo.  All images are courtesy of Google Maps.