The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of an American Gang [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of an American Gang

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This fascinating account of the notorious Chicago gang dissects not only gang culture but America's convoluted approach to the "war on terror." Moore (Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation) and Williams, a professor at Northeastern Illinois University and youth advocate, trace the gang's history from its earliest incarnation as the Blackstone Rangers, organized in the early 1960s by Jeff Fort and Eugene "Bull" Hairston in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood. The gang was drawn to black nationalism and courted by the Black Panthers and members of the civil rights movement, but refused to adhere to others' agenda. After a 1976 prison stint, Fort discovered Islam, restructured the Stones into the El Ruckns, and became linked with the Nation of Islam. The FBI, —which had long been on the gang's tail, pounced on an opportunity to arrest Fort on domestic terrorism charges. He was convicted and sentenced to 80 years. Moore and Williams present a compelling account of the evolution of one of America's largest gangs as an illustration of the dangers of government efforts to frame gang activity as terrorism. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

"Moore and Williams demystify the gang—and bring out the quirks of charismatic founder Jeff Fort—in this well-researched book that digs out the truth, finds the humanity in urban legend and shows how church, state and community together created the most powerful, and contradictory, of street organizations."  —Ebony (April 2011)

"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

Kirkus Reviews

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569768464
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 418,674
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Natalie Y. Moore is an author and a journalist who reports on issues of race and community for Chicago Public Radio. Her work has appeared in publications such as Bitch, Black Enterprise, the Chicago Reporter, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, Essence, and In These Times. She is coauthor of Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation. Lance Williams is an educator, an inner-city youth advocate and activist, and the son of a former Vice Lords member. He is a founder and a chairman of the board of the Know Thyself Program, a community-based organization providing cultural- and social-enrichment programs for youth in schools; a principal investigator of CeaseFire, an antiviolence initiative in Chicago; a board member of the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois program; and a member of the executive committee of the Governor’s Statewide Community Safety and Reentry Working Group. They both live in Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction 1

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

Sources 261

Index 287

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