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Aristocrats Gang and Sherry-Berry Black Saints Gang


History of the Black Saints

An ex Aristocrat stated: I moved to Chicago in the summer of 1962, There was a Street Corner Greaser gang two blocks down and probably had been there since the 50's They were The Black Saints! Red Barns was Chief. One day Red and several of the guys passed me on the street; they were going to meet someone at the railroad tracks for a humbug! ½ hour later they came walking back to the corner dirty and torn cloths, some were bleeding. That's how they did it back then! you had a beef you fought it out and everyone went home to heal! It was rare that anyone died in those days.

History of Chicago Aristocrats

Around 1965 they opted for a name change (due to people thinking that we were a Black club) and were democratic about it, anyone could submit a name for consideration and everyone voted on the name! That is when they were born.

About 1967 they started a Pee Wee section and I joined, I was about 12 years old. I bought a sweater that used to belong to Lil Greek (RIP) He died after taking a beating from some Latin Eagles on the lakefront. He got a blood clot or something in his brain after the beating.

We had a club house on Racine Ave. It had a pool table, Juke Box, A meeting room and Kitchen. It was sponsored by The Boys Club. There was a shooting over on Clark St. That may have involved some Crats and we lost the club house.

After we lost the club house on Racine, The Pee Wee’s hung out at a Church on Kenmore and Barry, They set us up pretty nice with a pool table, juke box and a refrigerator, They had a gym upstairs that we could use most of the time to play basketball and hold meetings. We used to dance the Four Corners; Spooky was my favorite song on the juke box! That and Crimson and Clover. We had a back door and could even drink out in the gangway, it was our place! It was cool, very nice people that were doing it for us. They even set up an outing with us and some of the Lil Latin Eagles one time and we all went to Cedar Lake and ran our canoes into each other instead of fighting. Sometimes on weekends they would host neighborhood bands and have dances, they called it war of the bands. That was until Billy robbed the pool table and juke box! They kicked us out and a lot of us were pretty upset!

The Aristocrats were a Club! We didn't call it a gang. We had a softball team and a football team, some of the guys boxed in the Golden Gloves Tournaments.

Aristocrats Colors

Original colors were Black and White, popular tattoos at that time were Dice showing craps or just two dots and 1=1, C/S. On the patch was a Top Hat and Cane with gloves. They later changed the Colors to red and black. They were mostly white but had some Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, Irish, Italians, Native Americans, And later some blacks! The Chief was a Puerto Rican named Abdulio Gordillas (RIP) I am not sure about the spelling! We called him G.

The Corner; Neighborhood Loyalty

Seminary and Barry

In the early 1960’s the Corner would be populated by everyone in the neighborhood, people of all ages were out and in hot weather the fire hydrant would be on and the guys would throw people in it and spray cars coming by. You can see from the article about the shotgun attack the victims were in age from 3 to 24. It was a neighborhood thing and there was serious loyalty among many people. There was a corner store on the North West side that burn down, and then later there was one on the South East side.

Coal Yard Boys Connection

The Coal Yard was run buy a guy named Iggy Coba (RIP) Even though he ran the Coal Yard he was an Aristocrat, Iggy carried an Aristocrat card and had the sweater too. We were very tight with them in the early years. Iggy later on started hanging out with PBC and I think he did some time after getting caught with Dynamite.

Once in the early 60’s I was with Iggy and some of the Coal Yard Boy’s when we met Tony Vargas walking down the tracks near Fletcher St. Iggy was looking for him because he messed with a friends young sister, he came up to confront Tony one on one. Standing straight in front of him looking in his eyes Iggy hit him with a right hook that spread him out in mid air, he dropped and didn’t move for about 15 seconds then opened his eyes and said wow I thought I was home in bed! It was a one punch knock out with the guy looking him in the eyes! Iggy was one tough Pollock! And when Tony went down it was over, He didn’t jump on him or kick him like they would today.

Sixties MC club Incident

There was a motorcycle club called The Rouges from somewhere around Ashland and Belmont, They wanted to unify with The Aristocrats; the trouble was they didn’t make any contact with anyone! About 6 of them just rolled up to Seminary and Barry on their Harleys one day, The Crats thought they came to fight and immediately and literally jumped on them knocking everyone of them unconscious. A guy name Jr. (Jr. was a Warlord) jumped on the back of a Harley and started hitting the guy in the head with a Hammer. The police showed up and arrested all of them for coming around starting trouble. The Aristocrats previously had vicious fights with another biker club called The DC Eagles and may have thought that was who rolled up on them.

Burglaries Home/Business

Aristocrats were involved in burglaries, drugs, both home and busyness. I was impressed when they gained access to a candy company on Fletcher and Lakewood, they loaded a rental truck up and then dressing up as professionals wearing suits going to local neighborhood stores as salesman selling the goods. Very Impressive! And much more than a street gang. There was a time after I grew up when I was out of work, had a kid, struggling and woke up one morning with a pillowcase full of meat at my door, steaks, rib eye etc, Thank you my brothers!

Aristocrats and PR Stones

P.R. Stones mostly hung out at Morris School on Barry St. just west of Sheffield. We allowed them to grow at the School ( 68,69) and later battled with them! We became Friendly later and they came down to Seminary, Clifton and Racine and Barry to hang with us.

Latin Eagle Shoots G - Crat's Leader

About 1971 or 72 Some Aristocrats were on a porch at Seminary and Barry hanging out and getting high, hanging on the corner with your friends smoking weed and drinking quarts of beer was what everyone did in those days.

Someone snuck up through the Alley across the street coming through the gangway and opened fire on the Crats! Everyone jumped in different directions to avoid getting shot! Everyone except G, who ran straight at the shooter who had run back through the gangway, he turned and shot G! He was muscled up pretty good, the bullet went into his stomach and his intestines popped out through the hole! He poked his intestines back in and held it with his hand. G recognized the shooter as a Latin Eagle. The police came and had G in the back of the car filling out a report very slowly, I think they were hoping he would die but he didn’t, that was the 3rd time G was shot! He survived again.

I want to point out that we were not fighting with the Eagles at this time and hadn't had any problems in quite a while. I don't know if this was sanctioned or not, but you don't go and shoot someone’s chief and expect nothing to happen.

G put out the call and sent people after the Eagles! We were joined by our brothers from the Royals! The Latin eagles paid a heavy price for what they did.

Crats Rivals: Latin Eagles

During the 60’s and early 70’s The Latin Eagles were the Aristocrats main rivals! Once they raided a pool hall on Belmont where some Aristocrats were playing pool, The Crats were greatly outnumbered! A guy named Alby got his eye sliced open with a razor! Another guy called Big T stood swinging his Q stick until it was over (they never touched him). One time some Crats caught a few Eagles down the block from Seminary and Barry in a car spying on them; they were pulled from the car and worked over pretty good. This was a bitter rivalry on and off lasting more than a decade. We won some and lost some! It was during this time some guys decided to form a group specifically to combat The Latin Eagles.

Beginning of The Simon City Royals.

I was on the corner when 2 guys that had quit the Aristocrats came up and talked to G about having started the new Simon City Royals over around Lake View High school. (The Simon City Royals were formed because of attacks by The Latin Eagles) G didn’t like it and told them they better keep pumping Iron because it was going to be a long hot summer! I was young and not involved in the conversation but was close enough to hear. The new Royals were there to keep things peaceful because they still had loyalty and friends within the Aristocrats. I noticed they looked disappointed and just walked away. I think this was around 1968!

Aristrocrats, Simon City Royals, Arab

Retired Aristocrat said this: We did on occasion have a few go-rounds with The Royals but for the most part were on friendly terms. One time I remember about 1970 the call went out for everyone to be on the corner! I was there later that night! We must have had over 100 guys on Seminary and Barry waiting for them, when someone down the block said here they come! G stepped out in the street to meet them, It was Arab with a couple of guys and his head was all bandaged up, he yelled out to G and said I want to talk, Peace returned, and we were brothers again.

I used to see Arab a lot at The Miss Q pool hall on Ashland; he was at The Diner over on Irving Park across from Lakeview High school a lot too.

I heard a story as a young Aristocrat about some Latin Eagles holding a Royal in the basement of a large apartment building somewhere, he was tied to a chair and being beaten and harassed. A Royal escaped at the onset of the situation and informed the others where they took the him. The story was Arab went there and pulled an M 16 out of his trunk and said he was going to spray the building if they didn’t send the Royal out right now! They let him go. I can’t verify this story but I don’t have any reason to doubt it either.

Arab was shot near Manjovins Hot Dog stand on Damen North of Belmont! He was dropping a girl off after a date when he was shot. The Aristocrats thought it was a set up by the girl and The Deuces! They sent some of their girlfriends almost daily looking for the girl! She and her family had to move away. Aristocrats, already fighting with the Deuces joined with the Royals on raids against them after that.

I was on the lakefront partying with a friend not long after Arab was killed, there was an altercation and a guy got hit with a Tire Iron. There were some Royals there too. We were at the turn around at the end of the Irving Park Rd. entrance to the North side of Belmont Harbor. The police eventually showed up and chased a few people away but quickly sealed off the exit and started putting people in paddy wagons; they were doing it fast and didn’t search anyone! My friend and I were in a crowded paddy wagon and a couple of girls were standing up so we invited them to sit on our laps which they did, my friend pulled out some weed and lit it up saying smoke them if you got them! A few others pulled out there smoke and we went to jail with a girl on our laps smoking pot in the back of a paddy wagon. There were so many people they couldn’t process all of us so they numbered us, I was number 800 something. Later when we were processed one of the cops started laughing and telling us he heard about Arab getting killed (he mistook us for Royals) we didn’t correct him but just looked at him with disgust and I could tell he was immediately ashamed of himself. Arab had a lot of respect, He was a unifier and his death changed the history of North Side Clubs. Rest in Peace Arab!

1970 Royals, Arab War

1970 the call went out for everyone to be on the corner! I was there later that night! We must have had over 100 guys on Seminary and Barry waiting for them, when someone down the block said here they come! G stepped out in the street to meet them, It was Arab with a couple of guys and his head was all bandaged up, he yelled out to G and said I want to talk, Peace returned, and we were brothers again.

Conclusion Aristocrats

There was an effort to get alliances during the 70’s The Aristocrats had an alliance with the Royals and Corp, It was called RCA! Aristocrats also had a relationship with TJO. I’m not sure if they became members but were looking into The WPO.

Aristocrats had a friendly relationship for some time with The Latin Kings from Halsted and Armitage, A King named Ishmael used to come to Seminary and Barry and hang out!

Something happened and war erupted again, lasting a few years. G again rallied the troops and I saw guys on the corner that hadn't been there in a long time, G could have a hundred guys on the corner with a day’s notice (That was his magic) This was the second war with The Kings!

Lloyd used to drive a cab and he would drive Crats down to Halsted to jump on The Kings in his Yellow Cab, One time the Kings caught him alone and pulled him from his cab beating him badly!

RIP Lloyd, A.K.A. Ajax

Aristocrats fought with The Latin Eagles, Young Lords, P.R. Stones, Latin Kings, Taylor Street Jousters, Deuces, P.B.C., Bel Airs, D.C. Eagles, along with many others.

By the early to mid 70’s the times and the Aristocrats were changing, guns and drugs were now a big part of it. They protected there turf from much larger enemies and held their ground against much larger groups with Latin eagles to the north, P.R. Stones to the east, Latin Kings to the South and PBC and Deuces to the West.

The war ended with the P.R. Stones, most of The Kings left the neighborhood, The Eagles became folks along with the Royals and Aristocrats. Joe Pop and G had a fight with a couple of guys from PBC and lost, ending the feud with them.

I think by the mid 1980s they were off the corner! Some were still around and still are but there were no new generations and no recruitment. Drug addiction and a changing neighborhood did what no one else could do. Some died from overdoses, some died from violence! Some took there own lives, some just moved on.

This is a very brief snapshot of a by gone era that started with a Street Corner Greaser Club! The Black Saints/Aristocrats occupied Seminary and Barry for nearly 30 years.

September 23rd 1968 - Young Lords

Reorganized by the Founder/Chairman Jose (Cha-Cha) Jimenez, the Young Lords are restructured into a human rights movement for self determination for Puerto Rico and other nations, and for neighborhood controlled development and empowerment.

Young Lords take over a Community Conservation Council Meeting and completely thrash the Department of Urban Renewal Office.

Local mafia owned real estate offices on Armitage Avenue are picketed by the Young Lords, while one real estate owner points a submachine gun at protesters,and while policemen observe and make no arrests.

All windows of Anglo businesses on Armitage Ave., between Larabee and Sheffield streets are busted and boarded up, in a preplanned riot, organized by Young Lords; and including members, from all the gangs in Lincoln Park.

After this! Aristocrats went on a rampage from Belmont down Clark St. for 2 blocks breaking all the store front windows where Latinos lived and owned...


Abdulio, Notaro, Joe Pop, Lil Greek, Trooper, Van, Baines, Lloyd, Koonce, Art Pope

Rest in Peace G!

Rest in Peace Iggy

R.I.P. Billy Johnson AKA Shotgun