Who Are Gangster Disciples, and What Do They Stand For?

The Gangster Disciples are a gang based out of the South-side of Chicago. Larry Hoover and David Barksdale formed the gang in the late 1960s, and the gang boasts a membership of over 400,000 people nationwide, as of 2015.

The group was originally known as the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, but members would eventually drop some of the words and refer to themselves as just the Gangster Disciples. However, some members outside of Chicago still refer to themselves as the Black Gangster Disciples. The gang aligns with the Folk Nation, an alliance consisting of prominent Chicago street gangs, such as the Simon City Royals, Latin Disciples and Spanish Cobras. The gang is at odds with members of the People Nation, a gang alliance consisting of prominent Chicago street gangs such as the Vice Lords, Latin Kings and Black P. Stones.

Like several other gangs, the Gangster Disciples briefly tried to legitimize themselves in the 1990s by entering into politics. Traces of the Gangster Disciples have been found throughout the U.S. military, with gang graffiti found at multiple bases. Members of the Gangster Disciples were convicted of killing Sergeant Juwan Johnson in Germany in 2005, during a six-minute gang initiation beating.