As the population of vast areas of Philadelphia’s north side becameexclusively black in the 1960s, gang ghting became increasingly intrara-cial. In 1973, for example, two North Philadelphia gangs, the Valley gangand the Norris Street gang, fought over an abandoned area known as the‘graveyard’ which consisted of ‘3 or 4 acres of smashed brick and twistedtailpipe’ (Lieber 1975, p. 42). In Los Angeles, con ict-oriented blackgangs began to form in the housing projects in Watts during the 1950s. ALocalism in white and black283Downloaded by [Lulea University of Technology] at 12:55 11 August 2013
little farther north in the Florence/Firestone district, which was under-going racial transition, the Slausons emerged partly in response to attacksby whites on defenseless blacks. However, white ight led to turf- andhonour-based rivalries between the Slausons and various Watts gangs. Afew years after the formation of the rst Crip gang in 1969, maraudingCrips, belonging to different sets, such as the West Side Crips, MainStreet Crips and Grape Street Watts Crips, began to victimize youthliving on Piru Street in Compton, who then banded together for protec-tion. The Pirus, Brims, Bishops, Blood Fives, Swans, and other gangsformed the nucleus of the Blood Nation. By the early 1980s not only wereCrips ghting Bloods, but different Crip sets were also locked in deadlyturf- and honour-based feuds (Valentine 1995, pp. 45–50; Quicker andBatani-Khalfani 1998, pp. 18–20).Extreme racial segregation in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis andCleveland has virtually eliminated confrontations between black andwhite youth gangs (Dawley 1973; Hagedorn 1988; Decker and VanWinkle 1996; Huff 1996). In New York, however, black-white gang vio-lence has persisted in places where black housing projects were built nearwhite working-class neighbourhoods. In South Brooklyn, for example,the proximity of the predominantly black Red Hook Houses to CarrollGardens, an Italian neighbourhood of brownstones, has been the sourceof more than thirty years of interracial youth violence (Barron 1997;Martin 1997).The increased violence associated with gang ghting in impoverishedAfrican-American neighbourhoods can be traced to growing joblessnessamong youth, especially in cities like Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroitand St. Louis. Another reason why a destructive con ict subculturebegan to emerge among African-American youth was that opportunitiesfor illegal work as bouncers or numbers runners declined. By 1940 Italiangangsters had seized control of numbers gambling in Boston, New York,Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit, and, in 1952, Sam ‘Mooney’Giancana took over Chicago’s lucrative black-operated policy racket(Pinderhughes 1987, p. 147; Schatzberg and Kelly 1996, pp. 78, 102). Thefailure of black street gangs during the 1950s and 1960s to develop intocriminal organizations, or even to provide major services to white crim-inal organizations, reected their inability to inuence the operation ofcrime or to launder money because of the political and economic mar-ginality of urban black communities (Ianni 1974).