The Almighty Vice Lord Nation are based in Chicago, Illinois and began to spread over many neighbourhoods and community areas in the 1960s, for example in Garfield Park, Austin, Fifth City and several housing projects, like Cabrini-Green, Rockwell Gardens and Lawndale Gardens. While usually found on the west side in the 1980s they expanded on the south and north side as well to neighbourhoods such as Englewood, Roseland and East Side as well as to housing projects of Altgeld Gardens and Washington Park Homes. Today they can also be found in Wisconsin, where they are predominantly on the north side of Racine County. In summary it can be stated that the Almighty Vice Lord Nation mostly operates in Chicago suburbs at the moment. Furthermore there are different factions and sub-gangs, which can be found all over the United States.http://www.uic.edu/orgs/kbc/maps/Gangstoday.gif
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When I first started doing some research for my gang I was a bit irritated, because it didn’t seem to be a “real” gang. I didn’t have the impression that this association could be taken really seriously, especially due to their symbols (a playboy bunny is in my opinion neither threatening nor serious). But when I learned more and more details about the Almighty Vice Lord Nation I was really shocked about how brutal and violent they operate. What surprised me was Bobby Gore’s attempt to turn a street gang into an activism community which aimed to help children and I was sort of disappointed that his mission failed. All in all I am definitely against violence and brutality, no matter if it happens in gangs or outside such a community. Furthermore I am worried that if you once become a member of a gang it is nearly impossible to leave it.
Reasons for becoming a gang member
There are plenty of reasons why people want to join a gang. Especially teenagers often struggle to find their place in the world and to define themselves. Being a gang member creates the feeling of being part of something and enhances their self-esteem by emotional support, attention, affirmation or simply understanding. Often those young people come from a difficult family or are loners and just want to fulfill their basic needs. Another reason to join a gang is peer pressure: if they live for example in a gang-dominated area or go to a school with a strong gang presence they are very likely to join this gang because most of their friends and acquaintances are already members. Furthermore, Chicago for instance can be very dangerous at night and being a member of a gang means to be protected from rival gangs.http://a3.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/profile01/147/5a3d2502b6ab451bbe150fabc5c827cc/p.jpg
The Almighty Vice Lord Nation is one of the oldest and most violent gangs of Chicago. Their history begins in 1958 in the juvenile detention centre St. Charles in a western suburb of Chicago, where seven incarcerated boys, namely Edward “Peppilow” Perry, who is credited with the actual founding of the gang and would become their official “chief”, Ralph Bonds, Leonard “Cal” Calloway, Bobby Gore, Maurice Miller, “Toehold,” and “Wren”, had the idea of founding this gang. The name “Vice” was chosen, when one of the gang founders looked the term up in a dictionary and found the meaning “having a tight hold”. After being released from incarceration the gang started to recruit lots of new members and engaged in wars against several clubs. At that time their territory was concentrated at about 21st and Lawndale. By the early 1960s the Almighty Vice Lords were involved in every kind of illegal activity such as robberies, assaults and extortion and their number began to grow and they began to expand in districts beyond the west side. To soften their public image, which was known as very brutal and violent, and to create a structure the gang was renamed the Conservative Vice Lord Nation by one of the founders, Bobby Gore. To reflect their new mission, community activism, the gang turned into a legitimate organisation, trying to protect the neighbourhoods and opening a shop. In 1966 they even became part of the Civil Rights Movement and marched with Martin
Luther King Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Council in a rally in the Marquette neighbourhood. After getting a lot of positive publicity and support of various politicians and community leaders the Conservative Vice Lords were able to open several legitimate businesses and community establishments with a grant of the Rockefeller Foundation. Despite their attempts of leaving their former image of being a violent gang, it was quickly discovered that the CVL were still violent criminals and had no intention to cooperate with the local police. In 1969 Bobby Gore got arrested for the murder of a young police man, though Gore denied to have committed the crime. Without his leadership the CVL’s social activities failed, shutting down all of their programs. They began to engage in another lucrative “business”, the drug market. In the 1980s several leaders of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation were killed or sent to prison. To give the organisation a spiritual meaning the gang adapted a lot of the Islamic principles and even transformed some of their long time gang symbols. In the 1990s some criminal activities of the Almighty Vice Lords became more sophisticated, such as mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, and money laundering.
They do accept everyone to join their gang. Before becoming a member you are required to take an oath and to memorize and obey all gang laws and rules. You are furthermore required to attend weekly meetings that are held by senior leaders. If you break a law or rule or miss a meeting, you get beaten.
Allies and Adversaries
Allies (People Nation): Blackstone Rangers, Bloods, Latin Kings, Black Peace Stones, Cobra Stones, Insane Popes, Gaylords, Future Stones, Four Corner Hustlershttp://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/gangs/images/c-people_sym.gif
Adversaries (Folk Nation): Gangster Disciples, Black Gangsters, Black Disciples, Crips, Party People, Imperial Gangsters, La Raza, Latin Eagles, Maniac Latin Disciples
Clothes, colours, etc
Colors: Black (race), Gold (wealth) and Red*
Formerly the gang members used to wear trench coats, trousers and a sweater or a white button shirt. Some of them wore black capes with the word “vice lords” written in gold and an earring. Nowadays their attire is very mixed, Vice Lords wear everything from old jeans and black hooded sweatshirts to expensive suits. Especially most of the younger members try to keep up with the latest fashion; however some members wear cheap clothing. In order to avoid detection from police and rivals they prefer to wear dark after nightfall. In the Winter Vice Lords wear bottom or tug hoods.
*The original gang colours are Black and Gold, however, in cities where Bloods have a presence, gang members of the AVLN tend to wear red in order to identify with that gang.
There is an estimated number of 30.000 to 35.000 members, while other sources claim them to be about 27.000.
The members of The Almighty Vice Lord Nation are mostly African American males.
The Almighty Vice Lord Nation engages in many criminal activities, namely vandalism, extortion, armed robbery, murder, assault, battery, dog-fighting, gang-banging, arson, auto-theft, burglary, armed robbery, shootings, fraud, identity theft, money laundering and street-level distribution of cocaine, heroin and marijuana, the latter being their main source of income.
In the early years of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, the three-top leadership positions consisted of a three-tiered structure, the seniors, the juniors and the midgets. Within the seniors there are ranking positions including the president (chief), the vice president, the war counsellor, the enforcers, and regular members. As the gang developed different branches, they incorporated the above-named rankings into each branch and some even created their own unique positions. Later on the gang established the group SCIA, which was founded to spy on the operations of other gangs. Furthermore they operate in factions, which are all considered legitimate.
The current structure of the Almighty Vice Lord Nation
Supreme Chief-King of Kings
Prince of the Nation
Minister of Justice
Free and Accepted Almighty Minister
Kings of the Nation
Minister of Command
Minister of Literature
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