Almighty Black P. Stone Nation
|Founding location||Chicago, Illinois, U.S.|
|Ethnicity||mostly African American|
|Membership||30,000-42,000, in Chicago|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, murder, domestic terrorism|
|Allies||Vice Lords, Los Zetas, Pirus, Latin Kings, Zoe Pound Gang, Black Guerilla Family, United Blood Nation|
|Rivals||white supremacist groups|
|Notable members||Jeff Fort
The Black P. (Pyramid) Stone Nation aka BPSN is a Chicago-based street gang estimated to have more than 30,000 members. The gang was originally formed in the late 1950s as the Blackstone Rangers. In later years, an Islamic faction of the gang emerged, naming themselves the "El Rukn tribe of the Moorish Science Temple of America" (or simply El Rukn). The group's founder and 'religious leader' is Abdullah-Malik (born Jeff Fort).
As of today, the gang has a strong presence in the Northwest Indiana communities of Gary and Merrillville with a growing presence in Portage, the northern area of Crown Point, as well as the western area of Hobart.
Rivals include the entire Folk Nation alliance and white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Brotherhood. Their allies are the Vice Lords, Latin Kings, and other People Nation gangs, Black Separatist groups, the Five Percenters, and Los Zetas. Separate factions of the gang include Titanic Stones, Apache Stones, Jabari Stones, No Limit Stones, Maniac Stones, and Jet Black Stones.
There are several gangs that branched off of the Black P. Stone Nation including Gangster Stones, Rubinite Stones, Corner Stones, Latin Stones, and Familia Stones. All these branches have many factions. BPSN has branched out to many different parts of the US, especially in the Midwest and the South, and cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The Familia Stones, also known as the Puerto Rican Sones, a break-off of the Black P. Stone Nation predominately made up of Puerto Ricans, has even branched out to Puerto Rico.
The Blackstone Rangers were founded at the St. Charles Institution for Troubled Youth by Jeff Fort and Eugene Hairston as a community organization for black youth in the Woodlawn area of South Chicago. In the 1960s they evolved into one of the most dangerous and powerful gangs in Chicago. Fort seized upon the gang's changed mission, renaming it the Black P. (Pyramid) Stone Nation. He transformed the BPSN into a black nationalistic group, and continued to involve the gang in street crime and drug trafficking.
BPSN founding member Eugene Hairston was incarcerated on drug charges on June 6, 1966, and Fort was arrested for mismanagement of government grants totaling $927,000 from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity in March 1972. Fort was released in the early 1980s, but was later re-incarcerated on drug charges. At some time in the 1980s, Fort converted to Islam and imbued the BPSN with Islamic overtones. It was then that he adopted the name of Abdullah-Malik and the rank of "caliph."
Following meetings during 1986 with Libyan operatives from Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's government, Fort was charged with buying weapons to commit terrorist acts on behalf of the Libyan government. In 1987, Fort was tried and convicted for conspiring with Libya to perform acts of domestic terrorism by use of COINTELPRO type methods. He was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment and transferred to the USP Marion, the federal supermax prison in Marion, Illinois. In 1988, Fort was also convicted of ordering the 1981 murder of a rival gang leader and was sentenced to 75 years in prison to be served after the completion of his terror conspiracy sentence.
While Abdullah-Malik continues to exercise considerable influence over the BPS from prison, the various Black Stones splinter groups suffer from rampant infighting without a clear leader. There are two major groups that have split with the BPSN The Mickey Cobras were supporters of Mickey Cogwell, a co-founder of BPSN killed by Jeff Fort. The Titanic Stones were supporters of Eugene Hairston who had a falling-out with Fort.
The Black Pyramid Stone Nation (BPSN) now has a strong Islamic character, which can be attributed to the Moorish Science Temple of America. BPSN first started to embrace Islam in the late 1970s when Jeff Fort was released from prison and changed his name. He also renamed the BPSN as El Rukn. El Rukn adopted their Islamic principles from the Moorish Science Temple - also the forerunner of black Muslim groups such as the Nation of Islam and the Five Percenters. They take inspiration from the historic African Moors who came from north and west Africa and conquered Iberia in the Middle Ages, and who were Muslims.
Even though Abdullah-Malik created an Islamic identity for BPSN, nowadays that ideological underpinning is not solid. Although a significant number of Stones are Muslims, Islam now has little to do with the organization's day-to-day operations. The vast spreading of chapters throughout the United States has served to dilute any Islamic identity. Many Chicago based and influenced BPSN in the Midwest, East Coast, and in the South embrace Islam, but just as many do not (especially BPSN Bloods/Black Stone West). BPSN Bloods/Black Stone West does not embrace Islam as it emerged in 1969, before Fort overhauled the mainstream BPS organization.
The Fort-Hairston schism left a significant number of groups adhering to Hairston's principles, and thus have no religious character. Belief in Islam is in many cases a prerogative of individual members. Most 'Stones' in the South don't personally acknowledge Islam, but many on the East Coast do, and in Chicago more than a quarter of the BPSN is Muslim. Islam has also brought negative attention from federal law enforcement because of BPS's ties to domestic and international Islamic terrorism. They were declared a threat to homeland security after the September 11 attacks. El Rukn has virtually no street presence any longer, with the religious/political body of the BPSN now existing as the Masjid Al Kabah under Abdullah-Malik and his Islamic clergy.
- The FBI investigation into Jeff Fort and his El Rukns gang for terrorism was featured in an episode of the The FBI Files entitled "Terror For Sale", such as the gangs' purchase of a LAW Rocket (actually a dummy rocket) from an undercover agent posing as an arms dealer.
While El Rukns may not have "street" presence any longer, their presence is still alive and just as powerful in the African American communities on the South Side of Chicago. Now a more nonviolent activist organization, as a whole, the BPSN still is a forceful voice within the community. It is also important to note that drug trafficking is still a prominent portion of the organization's revenue.
- Black P. Stone (National)," National Gang Threat Assessment 2009, United States Department of Justice, January 2009.
- Florida Department of Corrections. "Street Gangs — Chicago Based or Influenced: People Nation and Folk Nation". State of Florida. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
- Kenneth O'Reilly, Racial Matters: The FBI's File on Black America, 1960 - 1972 (New York: Free Press, 1991), 409.
- Lance Williams, "The Black Pyramid Stone: Black Power, Politics, and Gangbanging," University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, February 12, 2001.
- Hairston was eventually murdered in the Ida B. Wells housing project in the early 1980s
- Robert W. Dart, "Views from the Field: The Future is Here Today: Street Gang Trends," Journal of Gang Research 1.1 (1992), 87-90.
- "Five Draw Long Sentences for Terrorism Scheme". The New York Times (Associated Press). 1987-12-31. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
- Don Terry (1991-05-19). "In Chicago Courtroom, Nation's First Super Gang Fights for Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
- "Rossi, Rosilind (1992-08-24). "How the Law Won War With El Rukns". Chicago Sun-Times. "Jeff Fort, serving 155 years at the federal prison in Downstate Marion"
- "GANG CHIEF GUILTY IN RIVAL'S SLAYING". The New York Times. 1988-10-20. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
- Rossi, Rosalind (1988-11-15). "75 more years for Fort 4 other Rukns draw stiff terms". Chicago Sun-Times: pp. 3.
- 2011 The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of an American Gang Natalie Y. Moore (Author), Lance Williams (Author) ISBN 978-1-55652-845-3
- Cooley, Will. "'Stones Run It': Taking Back Control of Organized Crime in Black Chicago, 1940-1975," Journal of Urban History 37:6 (November, 2011), 911-932.