South Shore
South Shore

South Shore

Origins Settled by Ferdinand Rohn in 1856 and annexed c. 1889
Area South Side

67th Street on the north, 79th Street on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, Kenwood Avenue to Kimbark Avenue to South Chicago Avenue on the west

Gangs headquartered Black P Stones, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Four Corner Hustlers, Mickey Cobras,

This area was first settled in the year 1856 by German farmer Ferdinand Rohn who built a farm where 71 Street and Lake Michigan meets and used the trails in the area to transport his crops.

In the year 1861 the area was annexed into Hyde Park Township, regardless, there were very few farmers that joined Rohn until after the annexation of the area in 1889.

This area was originally heading toward being multiple different neighborhoods such as “Bryn-Mawr” that developed in the early 1890s, then a little while later “Parkside” developed between 67th Street and 71st Streets, then “Essex” developed between 71st Street and 75th Streets.  The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a major trigger that sparked development in these areas.

In the 1900s decade longer time white residents of Washington Park fled that neighborhood to become a part of the South Shore neighborhood as they fled from African Americans moving to Washington Park.  The new residents developed the “Jackson Park Highlands” area and built an exclusive country club called the “South Shore Country Club” that did not allow African Americans and Jews.

In the 1920s the area was renamed “South Shore” as Irish, Swedish, German and Jewish families moved into this neighborhood as they flocked from the black migration into Washington Park, many more houses and apartments were constructed to house these fleeing families.

South Shore would do well during the Great Depression era of the 1930s and prospered well in the 1940s.

In the 1950s South Shore was home to greaser gangs some of whom were violent groups.  South Shore had some of the toughest greaser clubs in the city.

By the year 1958 African Americans would begin slowly moving into the community in the area of the Jackson Highlands section between 67th Street and 71st Street from Stoney Island to the Illinois Central tracks. White residents became concerned the neighborhood would develop the same socioeconomic problems racially changing communities around them were facing, this caused white flight to begin in higher numbers in the 1960s as far south as 71st Street because panic developed after commercial disinvestment started to become rampant; however, this was halted in 1973 when South Shore Bank attempted to bail out of the community heading for the downtown Loop.  The Renewal Effort Service Corporation and the Illinois Housing Development Authority petitioned to not allow the bank to flee the area, the Federal Currency Comptroller listened to the protests and made the bank stay and fall under new management.  The bank then worked with urban renewal programs to renovate the area and prevent South Shore from declining.

When blacks first arrived in the late 50s, they encountered hostility and some of those mean greaser gangs would even show their might against groups of black youths.  In the year 1959 the Egyptian Cobras and Devil’s Disciples arrived to aid groups of black youths struggling with white gangs and to aid the black community.  Shortly after arrival, Disciples and Cobras would battle each other more than white gangs.

In the year 1960 the Blackstone Rangers ventured onto these streets and soon became very popular in this community.  The Rangers battled Egyptian Cobras and Disciples.  When the larger black street gangs swelled in the early 60s white gangs seemed to leave the area.  The black gangs proved to often be much tougher than the greaser gangs.

South Shore was a neighborhood partially built by racial fear as much of the community was populated in the early 20th century by families upset with black migration from Washington Park.  Because this neighborhood was so familiar with what changed in Washington Park, they now considered this neighborhood would change just like Washington Park.  This drove white flight in the 60s that would increase in the later part of the decade.  Racial conflict ensued during this transitioning decade and many white residents complained of higher crime rates and higher poverty now that black lower income classes were moving into these borders and criminal elements attached themselves to this migration pattern.  Police protection and police brutality elevated during the 1960s in the northern South Shore area and this often became a gateway for criminal elements to help themselves to this community as police turned their backs on the black community.

By 1970 the community was now majority black at 69% black. During the early 1970s black migration spread south of 71st Street to 79th Street.  Former first lady Michelle Obama has recalled as a child in the second grade was the time when racial change happened in her area of 74th and Euclid.  Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964; therefore, she would have started the second grade in the year 1971 at the age of seven.  She recalled the area around her to be mainly white and middle-class but during her second grade year that rapidly changed and within months she noticed the education she was receiving became subpar at best as poverty settled in the neighborhood as she watched white friends and neighbords rapidly move away in these early 70s years.  This was the time period that 71st to 79th Street of South Shore began racial change.  This southern part of South Shore became deeply impoverished with high crime.  The Black P Stones became very large in this community by the early 70s as they became the prominant pioneers of settlement on these southern South Shore streets.  The Disciples mainly ruled northern South Shore and once opportunity opened south of 71st Street the Stones were all over it and set up a permenant empire.  Disciples and Cobras would also settle in this area but not as strong as Stones.  Their new main area became 74th to 79th and Stoney Island to the lake front.  The Black Gangster Disciples (Mainly Devil’s Disciple/Black Disciples) conquered from 67th to 74th and Stoney Island to the lake front and from 71st to 79th/South Chicago Ave from Stoney Island to the Illinois Central tracks.  By the year 1975, the white population had completely left the area.

By the later 1970s South Shore had become very highly coveted streets for some top leadership for Black Gangster Disciples, Black P Stones, and Mickey Cobras.  In the year 1977 the El Rukns heavily rooted themselves on these streets when they purchased multiple buildings like the Peace and Love Building at 74th Place and Kingston.  El Rukns consisted of former leadership from the Black P Stones and now El Rukns would take over much of Black P Stone territory.

In the year 1979, the El Rukns threatened to declare war on the Black P Stones if they continued to exist.  This prompted several Black P Stones territories to turn over the to Four Corner Hustlers and Insane Vice Lords due to several Black P Stone groups to call upon these west side gangs to recruit here.  Four Corner Hustler recruitment was the strongest and would become permanent.

During the 1980s drug wars were heated on these streets.  El Rukns and Insane Vice Lords were especially violent groups if they needed to be.  The El Rukns were very dominated in the drug trade and in the late 80s they vowed to remove crack cocaine dealers from the community by violent force.  The Black Gangster Disciples were selling crack cocaine, and this brought on violence between these two groups.  A violent gang war erupted in 1985 between El Rukns and Mickey Cobras over drugs.  By the 1980s South Shore was considered one of the more dangerous communities in Chicago.

In the 1980s the Black Gangster Disciples were now a gang instead of an alliance as now the Black Disciples were distinguished on the streets.  The Black Disciples concepts were favored by a high rate of BGDs, more so than many other neighborhoods.  Large groups of South Shore BGDs pledged to BD, and this is how Black Disciples have been large in numbers in this community.  In the 1980s many Mickey Cobras converted to Black Disciples which was another factor in creating BD strength.  South Shore housed many of heaviest hitters within the big gangs in the city and many made large amounts of money and were able to purchase middle class houses as South Shore was a big home to black middle-classes in the 60s, 70s and 80s.  This was basically a come-up neighborhood for higher ranking older members of these organization.

Although a great deal of South Shore housed middle-class blacks many other areas housed the impoverished black families that lived in apartments and subsidized houses.  With poverty often comes crime and crime became a major issue black middle-classes complained about and some of these families began to leave the neighborhood in the 1980s in a phenomenon known as “black flights” which is when black middle classes could no longer tolerate higher crime areas, blight and living among lower income families.  These middle-class families wanted to attend better schools and have safer surroundings.

In the early 1990s El Rukns left the area as their organization became involved again in the Black P Stones and now the Stones would be stronger than before now that El Rukn territories would be occupied by the Stones some of which was not previously in control of the Stones but now was thanks to the El Rukn conquests of the 1980s.  During this same time the Insane Vice Lords were now facing several legal issues as the excessive violence IVLs showed on their enemies got them incarcerated leaving much of the gang with no leadership, the IVLs would then become Imperial Insane Vice Lords that would eventually fade from the area in the 21st century.

The 1990s would prove to be deadly years on these streets as gang wars over drugs became at some of the worst points.  Leadership from the gangs began to face incarceration leaving many factions of gangs without leadership that would prove dangerous as these groups had no rules to follow.  Black flight increased in the 1990s and continues throughout the 21st century.  Much of that flight has slowed in the 21st century but overtime the impoverished have grown in numbers.

The area of 75th Street to 79th Street and Colfax to Yates became the most violent and impoverished area of South Shore, this area became known as “Terror Town” and is mostly controlled by the Black P Stones and Gangster Disciples.  Several Strip malls in this area have fallen on hard times since the 1970s and are also the site of where crime happens.

Despite some of the negative in this community over the years the neighborhood has been the home of many middle-class black homeowners for decades. In the 21st century the middle class African American population has increased as the neighborhood is seeing more renovations; however, South Shore is still one of the more violent and harder neighborhoods in Chicago but is not a blighted area.

In the 1960s South Shore was dominated by Devil’s Disciples, Egyptian Cobras and Black P Stones

In the 1970s South Shore was dominated by Black Gangster Disciples, Black P Stones then El Rukns, and Mickey Cobras

In the 1980s South Shore was dominated by Black Gangster Disciples, El Rukns, Black Disciples Four Corner Hustlers and Mickey Cobras

In the 1990s up to present South Shore is dominated by Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Black P Stones and Four Corner Hustlers

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

Boss Pimps

79th & Jeffrey

Black P Stones Established 1960-present years

67th to 69th, Jeffrey to Clyde (Murder Show, Titanic Stones)

74th to 75th, Bennett to Jeffrey (Guwop Gang)

75th to 78th, Yates to Exchange (Terror Town)

77th to 79th, Exchange to South Shore Drive (Ceno City Coles Mobb)

78th to 79th, Constance to Cregier (C Block)

71st & Blackstone

75th & Stoney Island

74th & Phillips (Maniac Stones)

75th & Colfax (El Rukns)

78th & Kingston

79th & Essex

79th & Yates (El Rukns)

Kingston from 72nd to 75th (Kingston Raiders)

74th Pl & Kingston (Peace and Love Building, El Rukns)

76th & Kingston (East Side, El Rukns)

71st & Stoney Island (El Rukns)

69th & Stoney Island (Titanic Stones)

73rd to 79th, Yates to Colfax (Terror Town)

74th & Essex

79th & Paxton

79th & Oglesby

Four Corner Hustlers Established 1979-present years

71st to 72nd, Bennett to Jeffrey (Ghetto World)

71st Street from Chappell to Clyde

69th to 70th, Dorchester to Kenwood (Zoland ABM, Formerly known as Slab Side or Black Diamond City A.K.A Solid)

Stoney Island from 73rd to 74th (Rock Island, shared with Conservative Vice Lords & Black P Stones)

68th & Merrill

Crandon from 69th to 71st

Black Disciples Established 1959-present years

69th to 71st, Dante to Stoney Island (Will City)

73rd to 74th, Ridgeland to East End (Ridgetown)

65th & Stoney Island (Shared with Black P Stones)

71st & East End

79th & Ridgeland

Mickey Cobras Established 1959-present years

73rd to 76th, Jeffrey to Clyde (C-Block Justoworld)

71st & Bennett

73rd from Bennett to Jeffrey

Gangster Disciples Established 1959-present years

71st & East End

71st & Paxton (Pax Town)

Coles 75th to 78th (Coles Mob)

79th Street from Saginaw to South Shore Dr (Lakeside Gangsters)

67th to 68th, Blackstone to Stoney Island (Hood Gang Dro City)

73rd to 75th, Kenwood to Dante (Sirconn City)

67th to 69th, Cornell to Ridgeland (Maul Town)

69th to 71st, Clyde to Oglesby (Paxtown)

77th to 80th, Stoney Island to Ridgeland (RBG GDs) borders in South Chicago too

79th & East End

79th & Creiger

79th and Bennett

79th & Jeffrey

New Breeds Established 1992-2000s

75th & Dorchester

Imperial Insane Vice Lords

71st & Jeffrey