The Chicago Gang History Project is writing a history
of Chicagos gangs from the immigrant settlements and ghetto of the
20th century to the changing neighborhoods and ghetto of the 21st.
No other group of Americans are more stereotyped than gangs. Yet, Chicagos
neighborhoods have always had gangs. The gangs have produced mayors and
politicians, pro athletes, and businessmen. Gangs also have shed blood,
sold drugs, and are filling the prisons.
The history of gangs is the history of Chicago. It is more than a story
of crime, drugs, and violence. It is a story of immigrants and migrants,
neighborhoods and nations, industry and deindustrialization, workers and
entrepreneurs, masculinity and femininity, rebellion and resignation,
nihilism and politics. It is a story of the persistance of the ghetto.
In short, it is the story of Chicago, as told from its margins.
But why has Chicago had so many gangs? Why havent they gone away?
How are they different today than the past, and how are they the same?
These are the central issues we intend to explore.
The Chicago Gang History Project is interviewing current and former gang
members and get on the record the views of those from the community, universities,
and law enforcement whove been there. We are compiling documents
of all types, photographs, interview transcripts, newspaper and magazine
articles, and rare reports. We have constructed a website to share any
non-confidential public information with the public:
If you want to be interviewed, know some one who should
be interviewed, or have any documents or photos on Chicago gangs, please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-996-8361.
The Chicago Gang History Project is affliated with the Great Cities
Institute. Its Director is John Hagedorn, Associate Professor of
Criminal Justice at UIC.