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Chicago Gang Cards
January 20, 2012 1:27 PM   Subscribe

In the 1970s and 1980s, Chicago gangs distributed gang cards to stake their neighbourhood claim. Full gallery available here.
posted by gman (44 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Insane Lady Vigilantes must have had a great art director.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:31 PM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


It would be interesting to see these organized by year. I would bet that as crack gained prominence and more street gangs based their activities on selling it and maintaining retail turf that the cards got less creative as the stakes got more real.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:32 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rapping tip: "blood in the street" rhymes with "carte de visite."
posted by theodolite at 1:34 PM on January 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Almighty Gaylords majored in diversity.. That seems more progressive than their card here.
posted by bendybendy at 1:34 PM on January 20, 2012


aww, like business cards. My first assumption was these were gang member cards, like sports cards. Got my hopes up.
posted by mannequito at 1:34 PM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


exactly what I was thinking
posted by XMLicious at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


bendybendy, not sure if you're being sarcastic, but Diversey (not diversity) is a major street in Chicago.
posted by desjardins at 1:36 PM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Look at that subtle off-white colouring.
The tasteful thickness of it.
Oh my God, it even has a watermark.
posted by hal9k at 1:39 PM on January 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


(And Major is an avenue.)
posted by koeselitz at 1:39 PM on January 20, 2012


how nice, gangs have company picnics too, replete with softball games.
posted by desjardins at 1:39 PM on January 20, 2012


Why so many "compliments of THEE ______ _______s"? A misspelling that just got passed on through Chicago gangs?
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:41 PM on January 20, 2012


(And Major is an avenue.)

Ironically, quite a minor one by the looks of it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:41 PM on January 20, 2012


Are these all white or white-latino northside gangs?
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2012


I am pretty sure the gaylords were a white only gang who mostly battled against the latin kings.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 PM on January 20, 2012


I think they also fought the Folk and People nations. I swear there is a huge cache of vintage folk and people cards on the internet but I can't find it
posted by Ad hominem at 1:47 PM on January 20, 2012


Stooge Bro's are my favorite for 1) their nicknames (Unicorn? Bubbles? Giggles?) and their space-fillers (Michael loves Bridget, Robert loves Ann / Iron Maiden, The Who, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Pink Floyd).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on January 20, 2012


Why so many "compliments of THEE ______ _______s"?

Lotta Psychic T.V. fans in Chicago, apparently.
posted by Shepherd at 1:51 PM on January 20, 2012 [6 favorites]




More here, including the best gang name of all time: The Almighty Gaylords.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:53 PM on January 20, 2012


Why are so many of them almighty?
posted by gurple at 2:00 PM on January 20, 2012


I'm assuming that "Thee" was used to signify the use of the long-E "the" (as opposed to the regular schwa "the") to mark the group as the definitive Insane Popes, rather than the wannabes.

Also, in the early eighties, my group of high school friends in Chicago used to refer to ourselves with a fake gang name that began with "Insane"; looking at these cards, I'm half-regretful that we didn't come up with our own card, and half-grateful that we didn't, because flashing them or passing them out might have resulted in our getting harassed by cops or our asses kicked by real gangs, or worse.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:01 PM on January 20, 2012


> Why are so many of them almighty?

Because it sounds more intimidating than "angry punks who deep down are fragile and scared like anyone else but band together to forge a strong sense of identity".
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on January 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ironically, quite a minor one by the looks of it.

It's part of that stretch of north-south streets where each one was assigned a first letter based on how many miles it is from the Indiana border, assuming that Indiana extends indefinitely north into Lake Michigan. So all the streets between Pulaski and Cicero starts with K (Karlov, Keeler, Kildare, Kilbourn, Kenton, Kilpatrick), because they're 10 to 11 miles away from Indiana, the ones between Cicero and Central are all L (Lamon, Lavergne, Leclaire, Lockwood), and so on. That system applies only from K to P and then pretty inconsistently even in that range, because it was completely insane.

This Chicago geography tidbit is brought to you by the number 4 PM and the word Friday.
posted by theodolite at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


So what was the etiquette of handing these out?

What's the general point, just a sort of proof-of-membership thing? Like I can tell people, "I'm a Stooge Bro. My name's on the card, see?"
posted by RobotHero at 2:08 PM on January 20, 2012


I can attest to the fact that these were handed out to girls as a way of flirting. I have a couple tucked away somewhere.

And please note, upsidedown crowns = death to The Latin Kings
posted by readery at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't know about Chicago, but LKs are still around in force in Milwaukee. I had the ... experience of going to a funeral for one of its young members, a distant relative. About 2/3rds of the crowd was wearing black and yellow. He died by his own hand and not in a gang-related fashion, but it was pretty weird hearing all these teenagers testify about how he repped the gang and he's in Latin King heaven and ... whatever. The priest was like "you idiots are full of shit." It was pretty surreal.
posted by desjardins at 2:26 PM on January 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


i wonder if i could found my own street gang
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:31 PM on January 20, 2012


If you have to take a moment to wonder you don't have the cred or the charisma, sorry.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on January 20, 2012


So, like, if I came to my shop in the morning and found one of these in my mailbox, would that mean that I am now "protected" by the gang in question?
posted by asnider at 2:34 PM on January 20, 2012


There are still Latin Kings everywhere, they are huge.

Some of the gangs are fascinating. The Almighty Vice Lords, part of the People Nation, actually founded a pseudo-relegion based on islam codified in a book called the "Amalgamated Order of Lordism"

Another odd thing is that some LK cards say "Small People" on them and some GL cards say "Tall People" on them.

Wish I knew more about this stuff.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:49 PM on January 20, 2012


My street gang order some letterpressed cards off Etsy.
posted by mullacc at 2:51 PM on January 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've always been fascinated by the websites. I don't know why it surprises me that they have websites. But it does!
posted by heyho at 2:58 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This actually bears a strong resemblance to the business cards I currently use, only mine have unicorns, too.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:28 PM on January 20, 2012


Are these all white or white-latino northside gangs?

Well, the Hell's Devils look not to be big fans of diversity.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:44 PM on January 20, 2012


Warriorrrrrssssss!!

Please take my ca-A-arrrrd!!!
posted by orme at 5:45 PM on January 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sadly, no cards for INSANE ORCHESTRA ALBANY, the gang which started out as a salsa band.
posted by drezdn at 6:24 PM on January 20, 2012


Yeah there are. Under OA.
posted by moneyjane at 8:35 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the significance of two-six as a gang name? Two-Six is also prison slang for a gangster/thief in South Africa, seems like a pretty weird coincidence.
posted by dvdgee at 10:40 PM on January 20, 2012


Surprised I had to go this far to get to a Warriors reference, honestly.
posted by digitaldraco at 11:41 PM on January 20, 2012


That's because we'd all gone out to plaayeyay.
posted by moneyjane at 11:54 PM on January 20, 2012


Can somebody explain to me how a gang (which I assume is mostly made up of aggressive young men) like the 'Almighty Gaylords' which identifies themselves with "white power" would also identify themselves with the word "gaylord" and unicorns?

Also: best patch.
posted by beerbajay at 12:31 AM on January 21, 2012


The Two-Sixers are from 26th Street, from Back of the Yards to what is now Little Village.
posted by readery at 6:57 AM on January 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's part of that stretch of north-south streets where each one was assigned a first letter based on how many miles it is from the Indiana border, assuming that Indiana extends indefinitely north into Lake Michigan. So all the streets between Pulaski and Cicero starts with K (Karlov, Keeler, Kildare, Kilbourn, Kenton, Kilpatrick), because they're 10 to 11 miles away from Indiana, the ones between Cicero and Central are all L (Lamon, Lavergne, Leclaire, Lockwood), and so on.

Uh? Diversey is an east-west street.

I'll concur, though, that it is a pretty crappy excuse for a major artery, even if it does have the exalted title of 'Parkway' over by the lake.

Stupid, narrow Diversey. Stupid, slow, "runs till mid-evening, whatever the hell that means", bunching-prone #76 bus.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:41 PM on January 21, 2012


Oh. We're talking about Major Avenue. Ignore my rant, carry on.

Diversey is stupid, though.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:43 PM on January 21, 2012


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