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This exposé investigates the evolution of the Almighty Black P Stone Nation, a motley group of poverty-stricken teens transformed into a dominant gang accused of terroristic intentions. Interwoven into the narrative is the dynamic influence of leader Jeff Fort, who—despite his flamboyance and high visibility—instilled a rigid structure and discipline that afforded the young men a refuge and a sense of purpose in an often hopeless community. Details of how the Nation procured government funding for gang-related ...
This exposé investigates the evolution of the Almighty Black P Stone Nation, a motley group of poverty-stricken teens transformed into a dominant gang accused of terroristic intentions. Interwoven into the narrative is the dynamic influence of leader Jeff Fort, who—despite his flamboyance and high visibility—instilled a rigid structure and discipline that afforded the young men a refuge and a sense of purpose in an often hopeless community. Details of how the Nation procured government funding for gang-related projects during the War on Poverty era and fueled bonuses and job security for law enforcement, and how Fort, in particular, masterminded a deal for $2.5 million to commit acts of terrorism in the United States on behalf of Libya are also revealed. In examining whether the Black P Stone Nation was a group of criminals, brainwashed terrorists, victims of their circumstances, or champions of social change, this social history provides an exploration of how and why gangs flourish and insight into the way in which minority crime is targeted in the community, reported in the media, and prosecuted in the courts.
"A rigorous mixture of scholarship and journalism that is rendered with a contextual empathy that's rare in other literature on street gangs." —Salim Muwakkil, senior editor, In These Times, and host of The Salim Muwakkil Show, WVON, Chicago
"A provocative tale." —Chicago Citizen
"Filled with amazing and little known details and framed within Chicago African American history. The best and most accurate book on a contemporary Chicago gang ever written." —John Hagedorn, author, People & Folks: Gangs, Crime, and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City
"A stunning book." —StreetWise (March 2, 2011)
"A must-read for anyone interested in the history of Chicago." —Chicago Crusader
"A powerful exposé of disturbing realities underlying enduringly misunderstood urban legends." —Kirkus Reviews
"A valuable addition to a serious library about crime, shedding light on the overlooked world of black Chicago gangs." —Foxhill Review
Evenhanded account of a legendary Chicago street gang.
Chicago Public Radio reporter Moore (co-author: Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation, 2006) and Williams (Sociology/Northeastern Illinois Univ.) began this collaboration "out of sheer curiosity" about the storied Blackstone Rangers, which evolved into the titular "nation" and then the Islamist El Rukns. Scant history existed of the gang, which began in the 1960s in the impoverished Woodlawn neighborhood. By the '80s, they were pursued by authorities for conspiring with Libya to commit terrorism. The authors create a valuable panorama of urban decline, demonstrating how the well-intentioned "Great Society" programs of the '60s were replaced by punitive policies that both demonized and isolated African-American males.The narrative revolves around Rangers co-founder Jeff Fort, a fascinatingly contradictory individual described as compassionate, ruthless and shrewd. Early on, his innovation was to work with older criminals while insisting that all other South Side youth gangs form an allegiance with the Rangers. While the group expanded, they benefited from alliances with well-intentioned churches and the social services spurred by Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty." Predictably, this enraged the Chicago police and the FBI, who by 1968 were convinced the Rangers would be the armed vanguard of revolutionary terrorism. When Fort was released from federal prison in 1976, he took his gang in an unexpected direction. Developing an interest in the Moorish Temple of Science movement, he renamed the group "El Rukns." However, they remained involved in drug dealing, and law enforcement remained predictably hostile, leading to Fort's notorious terror indictment (and a life sentence). Although documentation of the gang's audacious criminal brutality remains blurry, this is a well-executed narrative that clarifies little-understood elements of both the War on Terror and the violence and isolation still haunting black America.
A powerful exposé of disturbing realities underlying enduringly misunderstood urban legends.
1 Big Chief and Little Chief 7
2 Birth of the Blackstone Rangers 31
3 Presbyterian Patrons 49
4 1968 69
5 Things Fall Apart 107
6 Ushering in Islam 131
7 Angels of Death 155
8 Qaddafi and the Domestic Terrorism Trial 179
9 Prosecutorial Misconduct 203
10 The Legacy of Terrorism On Street Gangs 215
11 The 8-Tray Stones 233
Posted July 11, 2013
No text was provided for this review.