|Gang Name||Black Disciples|
|Symbols||Roman Numeral Gate III, 6 Point star|
|Aliases||BDs, BDN, Trey Folks|
|Colors||Black, Blue, Red|
|Enemies||Black P. Stone Nation, Mickey Cobras, Latin Kings, Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples|
|Allies||Black Guerrilla Family, Four Corner Hustlers, Zoe Pound, and Folk Nation|
|Criminal Activies||Drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder, racketeering, burglary, kidnapping, illegal gambling, bootlegging, prostitution, car jacking, bank fraud, theft, embezzlement, human trafficking, arms trafficking, Money laundering|
Rise of the Black Disciples
The Gangster Disciples, Black Gangsters, and Black Disciples were all born out of the Black Gangster Disciples gang. David Barksdale used to be the leader of the Devils Disciples, however when he died the gang became the Black Gangster Disciples, and in 1978 the BGDs separated into the GDs, BGs, and BDs. The splintering that took place was due to the different leaders of the gang wanting to go separate ways, it’s not uncommon to see this type of divide in gangs, and even the BDs have seen some form of splintering occur. The splintering phenomenon also happens in different gangs such the Latin Kings, though they bear the same name and are in effect the same gang, the east coast version has a set of constitution that differs from the one located in Chicago.
Black Disciples and the Drug Trade
Though selling drugs is a large part of the Black Disciples’ daily activities, it is not their only one. They have meetings, parties, and attempts to reach many other geographical areas. The BDs have their own set of hand signs, gang logos, and written codes. The Black Disciples are similar to other adult dominated gangs; most of the members of the gang tend to be very young kids and juveniles, and no matter the time of day, they can be found participating in the drug selling business. The BDs normally use the phrase ‘Putting in Nation Work’ which means they are selling drugs for their gang, that term is also commonly used by other criminals both gang members and non-members in the form of ‘Putting in Work’.
The majority of Black Disciples members get their drugs from their higher ranks, which tend to be an adult, after selling the drugs, they keep a portion of the revenue as profit, and return the rest to their leaders. Most BDs agree, selling drugs is the primary focus of the gang, and many of their written laws are there to protect both the leaders and their soldiers from getting in trouble with the law.
Internal Discipline in the Black Disciples
BDs members can be found in ‘violations’, which means they are either in some violating the code of the gang, or coming up short in their daily task. When a member is found in violation, they are usually beaten up depending on how big the violation is. The punishment face by members found in violation often happens in front of all members during gang meetings. Punishment duration tend to vary in relation to how big the violation is, smaller violation can face beatings of mere seconds, while those found of bigger violations can face beatings lasting minutes. It is also not uncommon for members to be murdered when the violation reaches a certain unacceptable level, such as was the case for 11 year old Robert "Yummy" Sandifer whom was executed. A small violation can be a member missing a meeting, while a major violation can be disrespecting any of the leaders..
Black Disciples Hand Signs
Like majority of gangs operating around the world, the Black Disciples have their own hand sign. Their hand sign is done forming an ‘O’ shape by connecting their thumb tip with the tip of their index finger, leaving out the remaining three fingers hanging straight. Their hand sign is to done to signify the ‘trey’ which is in connection to their symbol the roman numeral “III”. The BDs hand sign resembles that of the boy scout, thus making it easy for those unfamiliar with the gang to think that they are simply using the boy scout hand sign.
Black Disciples Tattoos
Tattoos are also very common in the gang; the most commonly used tattoo is the Star of David with the roman numeral “III”. Other tattoos used by the gang are the acronym “B.D.N” and “B.D.” Tattoos are mostly popular with older gang members and some of the more hardcore youth, young members are discouraged from having tattoos as this will immediately alert their families that they are part of a gang, and might attempt to drive them away from it, which is why upon burying their kids from gang violence, many parents are known to claim they have never known that their kid was a gangbanger.
Six Pointed Star and Colors Meaning
The Black Disciples’ symbol is the star of King David which has 6 points, and every point on the star has its own meaning; Love, Live, Loyalty, Unity, Knowledge, and Understanding. The colors of the Black Disciples are black, red, and blue. Black stands for all black people. Red is for the bloodshed of our Nation. Blue is for the heavenly sky which blesses all Disciples. True blue also represents the love we share, which is as deep as the deep blue sea.
Meaning of the Star's Points
|LOVE||Love of the Nation is greater than mere love alone, because we have a brotherhood in which love is as deep as the deep blue sea. TRUE BLUE LOVE|
|LIFE||Life commitment to the Nation for the betterment of ourselves as well as the Nation and each committed brother within the Nation, and our Nation's teachings, laws, creeds, symbols, philosophy and defense.|
|LOYALTY||To yourself, and each committed brother of our Nation.|
|UNITY||Collectively embraces all concepts, ideas, and actions that apply to our Nation. Togetherness is essential in order for us to continue our survival.|
|KNOWLEDGE||Is insight, therefore it is priceless, it gives one the ability to apply rational judgement. Knowledge is the ability to have a conscious awareness, and knowledge gained and not passed along is wasted knowledge.|
|UNDERSTANDING||Shows that we are able to communicate effectively, bringing about agreements, and a positive state of mind.|
The Yummy Story
Upon locating his targets, Yummy fired multiple shot toward the GDs, he ended up wounding 3 individuals, 2 GD members, and 1 innocent bystander, a 14 year old girl named Shavon Dean. Chicago was outraged by the careless violence, and due to the outrage, a different set of BDs called “Edbrook” decided to send two of their members 14 year old Derrick Hardaway and 16 year old Cragg Hardaway to kill Yummy. They would both later be arrested for killing Yummy, and confessing that their gang leader sent them to do the job. Yummy was executed with a bullet to the back of the head. This chain of event would shine a light to the terrible gang life plaguing Chicago, not simply because of the horrendous crimes, but also the ages of those committing them.
Female Roles in the Black Disciples
Female members are welcomed in the Black Disciples, and are known as ‘sisters’, they too can become full members, though it’s unlikely for them to hold high positions in the gang. It’s possible for sets to consist of as high as thirty percent female members. Unlike many other gangs where female members are sexed in, it doesn’t happen with the BDs, which is most likely due to the fact that the sets are regional and tend to make up of individuals from a few close by blocks. Like many other gangs, the females in the gang have their own wing, they too hold meeting just like their male counter parts. Just like males in the gangs, females sell drugs, kill, and give violations to members. Though they participate in all the activities of the Black Disciples gang, they have never held any of the top positions in the gang.
Black Disciples Enemies
Like most other gangs, the Black Disciples have numerous enemies, however their main enemies are often considered to be the Black P. Stone Nation, Mickey Cobras, and the Vice Lords. BDs are also known for fighting against the GDs though both their gangs are ‘Folks’. It is also not uncommon for BDs to go against other BDs set, which is due to the large number of sets the gang has, and since drug dealing is their primary business, when their profits are in danger, no matter the relation, war is sometime the only answer.
Leaving the Black Disciples
Unlike many other gangs operating in the United States which tend to follow the code of “Blood in, Blood Out”, it’s relatively easy to leave the Black Disciples. All a member has to do is come to an agreement with its leader(s) as to why they’re leaving and abide by the terms, one of the most common being they cannot join any other gangs. There are many accepted justified reasons for leaving the gang, such as getting a job, returning to school, or any type of problem the member might be facing that prevents them from being a member such as family issues. Before leaving, members often go to a final meeting, do some rituals and become instantly inactive from the gang.
Though it is relatively easing leaving the Black Disciples gang, in the final meeting if the departing member makes any verbal insult toward any of the active members, whether provoked or unprovoked, the gang regards it as a violation, and the departing member will receive a harsh physical beating by its fellow gang members. Like many other gangs, once a member reaches age 35, they can chose to retire from the gang, when retiring no reason is needed.
U.S. Federal Prosecution Efforts against the Black Disciples
In 1998, about 21 BD members were under arrest facing federal charges. In an effort to lower their sentences, some of the gang member such as Robert Allen Jr. and Charles Jackson agreed to work the federal prosecutors in prosecuting the other members. This is typical when gang members are arrested, some of the arrested members do what many criminals consider ‘Snitching’ and give up information on other members. Due to their help, prosecutors were able to prosecute those members. Allen, whom was facing life like many of the other members, was able to reduce his sentence to 20 years.