As the boys started being released from the reformatory in 1958, many of the members took the gang to the street and made 16th and Lawdale their first neighborhood. The Lawdale neighborhood, filled with poverty and hopelessness, soon had another epic battle coming their way as members of the Vice Lord Nation turned into violent criminals. The Vice Lords soon developed a reputation for mugging, robbing, murdering, and beating people without regard; the gang also took part in multiple bloody gang wars with rival gangs in their area. By the 1960s, the Vice Lords were soon labeled as one of the most violent gangs in Chicago, and its membership started soaring due to its fierce reputation and the hopelessness within the area they were operating. Vice Lord is one of the founding member of the People Nation, a multi-gang alliance which rivals the Folk Nation alliance.
|Gang Name||Almighty Vice Lords Nation|
|Ethnicity||Predominantly Black, Some Hispanic|
|Symbols||5 Point Star, Cane, Playboy Bunny, Top Hat (Left Side)|
|Aliases||VLs, VLN, 22-12, 22-12-14|
|Colors||Black, Gold, & Red|
|Phrases||V's and L's 22-12|
|Criminal Activities||Drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder, prostitution, & Boosting|
|Allies||People Nation, Four Corner Hustlers, Black P.Stones, Bloods, Zoe Pound, Latin Kings, Black Guerrilla Family, and Black Mafia Family, Mickey Cobras|
|Enemies||Folk Nation, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Crips, Surenos, White Supremacist gangs, & Juggalos|
The Vice Lords changed their name to the ‘Conservative Vice Lords’ in a 1964 meeting between the leaders of 8 of the 26 groups of the Vice Lords. The leaders met up to reevaluate their future, they believed the violent route the Vice Lords was taking was wrong, and believed they should be conservative in their ways hence the new name ‘Conservative Vice Lord’. Following their name changed, the Vice Lords faced numerous challenges in the 1960’s which included harsh living conditions, and their members continuing their criminal activities despite turning conservative and trying to be positive. Their attempt to turn themselves into a positive gang didn’t start happening until 1967. Their main goal was to become a gang with the sole purpose of helping their community and the youths living in it. Bobby Gore, an original member of the gang whom has been with it since 1958 was soon appointed as the Chief of the Conservative Vice Lords. Prior to joining the Vice Lords, Bobby Gore was a member of the ‘Clover-African American Athletic Gang’ which was located on the West Side of Chicago. Gore would later create CVL Inc. along with David Dawley, the first white Vice Lord member of the gang. Dawley shared Gore’s vision of turning the Vice Lords into a positive force, following the incorporation of the gang, they soon decided they no longer wanted to be known as a gang.
In 1968, CVL Inc. started seeing their vision becoming a reality. Leaders of the group went to Washinton D.C. where they were able to obtain grants to help improve their community. The grants were used to open legit businesses, hang outs, social clubs, educational program, and recreational programs among others. Some of the establishment created by CVL Inc. included a pool hall, 2 Tastee Freeze parlors, Simone Comsmetic(Cosmetic shop for African American which was funded by Sammy Davis Jr), the West Side Paper stock(a company designed to encourage recycling), teen hang outs(For teen to complete homework instead of hanging out in the streets), Malcom X GED program(Helped individuals whom were willing to better themselves attain their GED). Apart from opening numerous establishments to better the community, CVL Inc. helped to clean up decaying neighborhoods in Lawdale and also assisted numerous tenant rights group to help prevent landlords from taking advantage of their tenants. CVL Inc. without a doubt helped bettered the Lawdale neighborhood, however, in 1969 CVL Inc. would start to crumble.
In 1969, David Dawley, one of the two most influential leaders of the CVL Inc’s positive movement moved back to the East Coast, leaving Bobby Gore by himself. On November 14th, 1969 Gore was charged with the murder of a 23 year old male named Thomas Williams. Williams was murdered on the corner of Ogden and Holmen, though Gore claim he did not commit the crime, he was convicted of murder on March 10, 1970. The CVL President Alfonso Alford died as a result of a stroke in February, 1969. Edward Perry and Bobby Gore soon resigned as leaders of the gang.
In the late 1970’s to 1971, the CVLs would be dealt another fatal blow as their funding was halted which resulted in them closing their businesses and clubs. The funds were discontinued as a result of investigations which concluded that the Vice Lords were still a violent gang and their good deeds were a mere disguise to shine light away from their criminal activities. The report claimed that while the gang was helping the community on the surface, they were also consolidating numerous gangs in the area into the Vice Lords, which included the Cherokees, the Morphines, the Commanches, the Continental Pimps, the Imperial Chaplains, the Clovers, the Cobras, and the Braves. As a result of those mergers, the Vice Lord Nation soon became one of the largest gangs in the area. Starting in 1971 the Vice Lords started their road back into a criminal organization due to their influential leaders being either locked up, dead, or retired. Within that year, the Vice Lords decided to split into factions(different gangs), with each factions having their own separate leader. Willie “Minister Rico” Johnson took over as leader of the Vice Lords Nation. Upon becoming leader of the Vice Lords, Rico opened the gang up to all races, though some factions initially opposed that decision, they were still able to turn themselves into a multi-ethnicity gang.
The Vice Lords are the second largest and oldest African American street gang in Chicago. Their history, which is told with help of voluminous works, attests to their monolithic criminal involvement and influence in Chicago’s street gang underworld. Their evolution is that of a group of toughs forming in a correctional facility, engaging in classic street gang operation, succeeding at forming a grass roots pseudo-political activist group, and resending to unprecedented criminality that is common place in America’s street gang landscape. The Vice Lords originated in the Illinois Training Center for Boys, dubbed “Charleytown,” in St. Charles, Illinois in 1958. They were founded by a group of seven incarcerated youth: Edward “Peppilow” Perry, who is credited with the actual founding of the gang and would become their official “chief,” or “president,” Ralph Bonds, Leonard “Cal” Calloway, Bobby Gore, Maurice Miller, “Toehold,” and “Wren.” Other notable early Vice Lords were “Cupid,” William “Goat” Gilmore, William Franklin, Robert Stanley, Billy Washington, “Big Lord,” “JW,” “Monk,” and “Noony.”
Upon hitting the streets of Lawndale, the Vice Lords engaged in wars against several clubs, including the Barons, Clovers, Comanches, Continental Pimps, Egyptian Cobras, Imperial Chaplains, Imperial Knights, Roman Saints and Van Dykes. These gangs surrounded Vice Lord territory, which was originally concentrated at about 21st & Lawndale. By 1970, the VLs had taken control of the aforementioned gangs’ territories, and most had become Vice Lords out of respect or through force.
The Vice Lord Nation is estimated to have more than 30,000 members, which means that they have a large number of sets. Whenever a gang becomes too large, it’s hard for the leadership to have a grip on all of their members. It’s virtually impossible to name all the sets of the Vice Lords due to the fact they are a national gang, and sets are created and removed all the time. Due to their larger numbers, it is not uncommon for sets of the Vice Lords to go to war with other sets, especially in areas where they make up the majority of gang members.
These sets include but are not limited to
-Traveling or Traveler Vice Lord aka Taliban(TVL)
-Conservative Vice Lords (CVL)
-Unknown Vice Lords aka Ghost Mob (UVL)
-Renegade Vice Lords (RVL)
-Imperial Insane Vice Lords (IIVL)
-Mafia Insane Vice Lords (MIVL)
-Cicero Insane Vice Lords (CIVL)
-Spanish Vice Lords (SVL)
-Insane Vice Lords (IVL)
-Undertaker Vice Lords (UTVL)
- 4 Corner Hustlers 4CH)
||Identify to the Left.(Left represents the People Nation alliance, gang members wear earing on their left ear, tilt their hat to the leftTop Hat: shelter/makes things happen
Playboy Bunny: swiftness, silence,and smoothness
Champaign Glass: celebration/completion
White Gloves: purity
Additionally, the Vice Lords have adopted a five point(ed) star (with the five points being Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom, and Justice), an eye of Allah, diamond, circle of fire and number 7. Upon intially joining the People alliance, the VLs used a pyramid w/21 bricks which was in accordance with the El Rukns. However, this symbol was rarely "tagged" by the gang and some factions engaging in war with Black P. Stones have been known to "drop" or "break" the pyramid as a show of disrespect to the BPSN.
Their traditional enemy has been the Gangster Disciples, but in recent years wars were squashed between the two gangs in some areas of the city. On the north side and in some suburbs they have engaged in war with the likes of the Simon City Royals, Spanish Cobras, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Familia Stones, Black P. Stones, Latin Kings, Latin Eagles, Insane Deuces and Maniac Latin Disciples. They were also noted for a long standing war with the Mickey Cobras in the Cabrini-Green. Depending on the locale they may be at peace with, share sets with, or be in coflict with Black P. Stones and Latin Kings.