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Gangster Leader Larry Hoover: Founder of The Gangster Disciples!

Gangster Leader Larry Hoover: Founder of The Gangster Disciples!

In the streets of Chicago, a gripping tale unfolds – the story of Larry Hoover and the notorious Gangster Disciples. As the 1960s unfolded, Larry, alongside David Barksdale, founded the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN) to provide identity and protection amid adversity.

This blog unravels the layers of Larry Hoover's life, his rise to power, and the impact of the Gangster Disciples on Chicago's history. 

Larry Hoover's Early Years

Born on November 30, 1950, in Jackson, Mississippi, Larry Hoover's journey began in the challenging streets of Chicago, Illinois, where he shifted at the age of 4.

By the age of 13, Hoover had already dropped out of junior high, entering the world of gangs. Joining the Supreme Gangsters, he quickly became entangled in petty thefts and muggings.

In 1968, Hoover's life took a personal turn as he entered a romantic relationship with Winndye Jenkins. This union bore one of his three children, Larry Hoover Jr. Despite their connection, the Illinois Department of Corrections denied their marriage until January 9, 2020, when the U.S. Department of Justice officially recognized their union.

Throughout his early years, Hoover's associations extended to Gangster Disciple Lieutenant A'Marion Taylor. Engaging in the resolution of cold cases linked to the organization, Hoover's involvement in criminal activities began to shape the trajectory of his life within the intricate tapestry of Chicago's underworld.

The Genesis of the Gangster Disciples

As the 1960s unfolded, Chicago witnessed a surge in street gangs driven by socioeconomic challenges and racial tensions. In 1969, Larry Hoover and David Barksdale stopped fighting and joined their gangs, the Supreme Gangsters and the Black Disciples, to create a new group called the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN). This was like a powerful team-up to make their gangs stronger. They did this because they wanted more power and protection for their members, especially with all the problems in the neighborhood.

Under Hoover's leadership, the BGDN quickly became the Gangster Disciples (GD), and they grew more significant than just the South Side of Chicago. Hoover was good at organizing things and had big plans for the gang. This joining of gangs was crucial for the Gangster Disciples, making them a major force in the city's crime scene. It all started with Larry Hoover and David Barksdale teaming up to create a stronger and more influential gang.

Larry Hoover's Ascension to Power:

Hoover's leadership qualities quickly propelled him to the forefront of the BGDN. Under Hoover's guidance, the BGDN transformed into the Gangster Disciples (GD), becoming one of the most formidable criminal organizations in the city.

In 1974, after the leader of the Black Disciples, David Barksdale, succumbed to kidney failure from injuries sustained in a 1970 shooting, Larry Hoover took over the control of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation.

Designating himself as the crew's chairman, Hoover swiftly asserted authority. At that time, the Disciples held sway over Chicago's South Side territory. Under Hoover's leadership, the GD swiftly dominated the Chicago drug trade, extending its influence across the city.

The Turbulent 1970s:

The 1970s brought prosperity and adversity for Larry Hoover and the Gangster Disciples. Hoover focused on establishing a hierarchical structure within the gang, strengthening power, and instilling discipline among members. The GD's criminal activities expanded to drug trafficking, extortion, and violent confrontations with rival gangs.

On February 26, 1973, the streets of Englewood witnessed the repercussions of Hoover's authority. William "Pooky" Young, a 19-year-old local drug dealer, faced a grim fate. Accused of stealing drugs and money from the gang, Young was abducted and fatally shot by Black Disciple member Andrew Howard in an alley near 68th Street and Union Avenue.

Hoover’s involvement in this brutal act showed how tough the Gangster Disciples were back then. This event highlighted the serious and harmful outcomes for those who messed with the gang during Hoover's strong leadership.

Legal Troubles and Imprisonment:

As the Gangster Disciples gained notoriety, law enforcement intensified efforts to dismantle the organization. In 1973, Larry Hoover was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Hoover was sent to Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois, to serve out his term.

Hoover’s Activities Behind Bars

Confined to a maximum-security prison, Hoover's role in the Gangster Disciples was severely restricted. However, his legacy persisted, and the gang continued to operate, though with diminished influence.

Alliance with Similar Gangs

While behind bars in 1978, Hoover established the Folk Nation, a coalition surrounding various gangs aligned with his vision. Notable members included the Lady, Satan, Maniac Latin, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Ambrose, the Two-Two Boys, Two Sixers, Simon City Royals, North Side Insane Popes, La Raza Nation, Spanish Cobras, Imperial Gangsters, Harrison Gents, and the Latin Eagles. The Folk Nation's reach extended from prison boundaries to the drug-laden streets.

Affiliation with Folk Nation

He orchestrated the gang's illicit drug trade, overseeing operations from Chicago's West Side and expanding across the nation. Parts of the affiliated Folk Nation alliance extended their presence beyond Chicago, infiltrating cities such as Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Memphis, and Hoover's hometown, Jackson.

The Folk Nation, including the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, cultivated a rivalry with the People Nation, which comprised gangs like the Almighty Black P. Stone Nation (led by Jeff Fort, now sharing a prison facility with Hoover), Almighty Vice Lord Nation, Latin Kings, Mickey Cobras, South Side Almighty Insane Popes, Almighty Saints, and the Four Corner Hustlers.

Rivalry with LMG Mafia

The Gangster Disciples are also entangled in a fierce city rivalry with the Love Murdering Gangsters in South Memphis (formerly LMG Mafia). This expansion and rivalry underscored the far-reaching impact of Larry Hoover's influence, shaping the trajectory of the Gangster Disciples and their place in the criminal landscape.

The Crack Epidemic and Gang Expansion:

In the 1980s, a big problem called the crack epidemic hit American neighborhoods. The Gangster Disciples, led by Larry Hoover, saw a chance to make a lot of money by getting into the drug trade. Crack cocaine became widespread, causing a lot of trouble on our streets. The Gangster Disciples got even stronger, taking control of more areas.

Larry Hoover's plan was tough, and the gang made a ton of money during the crack epidemic. They became major players in the drug business. It was impressive how Hoover could still lead the gang even though he was in prison.

As the crack epidemic hurt communities, the Gangster Disciples got even more powerful. The 1980s were a crucial time for the gang, as they gained more control over the South Side and beyond. Larry Hoover's influence, even from prison, kept pushing the Gangster Disciples forward during this difficult period.

Internal Strife and Power Struggles

In 1989, trouble brewed within the Black Gangster Disciples as leadership problems surfaced. Larry Hoover's shift in focus from the Folk Nation alliance to the now-fractured Gangster Disciples triggered a decline in the BGDN leadership. This decline angered many members, leading to the separation of the two gangs – the Gangster Disciples and the reborn Black Disciples.

One flashpoint of their discord emerged in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, where a drug dealing dispute escalated into a fatal shooting, claiming several lives. This incident underscored the deep-seated animosity between the two factions.

By early 1993, Larry Hoover, despite his criminal past, claimed to have turned over a new leaf. He gained celebrity status in Chicago's urban political scene, asserting that the GD initials now stood for "Growth & Development." Despite these claims, internal strife and power struggles persisted within the Gangster Disciples, casting a shadow over Hoover's attempts at portraying a reformed image. The gang's fragmented leadership and conflicts continued, challenging the narrative of transformation put forth by its incarcerated leader.

The Federal Indictment:

In 1995, while Larry Hoover was serving prison for murder, a massive federal crackdown unfolded. On August 22, he faced a barrage of charges, including conspiracy, extortion, money laundering, drug-related offenses, and running a criminal enterprise. The Illinois Department of Corrections, FBI, and ATF joined forces for a 17-year undercover investigation that exposed Hoover's extensive criminal activities.

Federal agents, armed with evidence from wiretaps, arrested Hoover at the Dixon Correctional Center. The charges painted a grim picture of the Gangster Disciples' reach, alleging a staggering 30,000 "soldiers" spread across 35 states, generating an annual income of $100 million. Transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago, Hoover awaited trial.

In 1997, the verdict came down hard — guilty on all counts. Hoover's fate was sealed; he received three additional life sentences. Currently confined in ADX Florence, Colorado, Hoover's federal indictment marked a significant chapter in the Gangster Disciples' tumultuous history.

Legacy and Impact on Chicago:

Though tainted by crime, Larry Hoover's legacy stands as a symbol of power and downfall. As of July 2022, he denied any connection to the Gangster Disciples, asserting that he no longer embraces the gang's activities. Claiming a transformation, he distances himself from the infamous figure portrayed in the media and government narratives.

Despite skepticism about his motives, this shift in stance suggests a complex legacy. Hoover's story, from the streets to prison, prompts reflection on the enduring impact of organized crime on communities. His legacy raises questions about redemption and the challenges of breaking free from a cycle of violence.

The story of Larry Hoover and the Gangster Disciples is intertwined with the history of Chicago's South Side. The gang's activities have left a lasting impact on the community, contributing to the cycle of violence, poverty, and systemic issues that persist to this day. Larry Hoover's legacy, both as a charismatic leader and a symbol of criminal enterprise, remains a complex and controversial aspect of Chicago's history.


The saga of Larry Hoover and the Gangster Disciples is a gripping tale of power, crime, and resilience. From the streets of Chicago to the confines of a maximum-security prison, Hoover's journey reflects the challenges faced by marginalized communities and the enduring influence of organized crime.

As Chicago grapples with the repercussions of this furious history, the story of Larry Hoover serves as a cautionary tale and a testament to the complexities of the relationship between gang culture and urban life.

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