What Were Gangs in the 1960s?

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The 1960s saw the birth of prominent gangs that included the Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Panthers and the Crips. Although each gang was unique, all three were considered to be dangerous and violent by law enforcement.

In 1964, the Aryan Brotherhood sprang up in the San Quentin State Prison. Known as a neo-Nazi gang, it was founded by Irish-American bikers. The Aryan Brotherhood was and continues to be recognized by the green shamrock tattoo as well as the numbers 666. It is responsible for 20 percent of the murders in the federal prison system.

In 1966, the Black Panthers arose in Oakland, Calif. in response to the oppression of African-Americans. The members believed in using violence to combat racism in the United States. They sought equality in education, housing, employment and civil rights.

In 1969, the Crips were established in Los Angeles, Calif. Consisting exclusively of African-American members, the gang was originally divided into the east and west sections of South Central Los Angeles. It eventually grew large enough to spread across the state of California. The Crips has become one of the largest gangs in the United States, having grown to over 30,000 members nationwide.