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A Black Spades vest
|Years active||1968 to present|
|Territory||Soundview, Bronx, New York|
The Black Spades were a mostly African American street gang started in New York City during the 1970s. The gang began to spread out of the Bronx to Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, New Jersey and Connecticut in the late 1980s. After this period Hispanic and white members were very common.
The gang originated in 1968 in the Bronxdale Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx as the Savage Seven. As the gang grew, they changed their name to the Black Spades. The gang quickly spread to nearby housing projects and throughout the Bronx, with divisions in almost every precinct and they had over 50 divisions in New York State alone.
In the 1970s the various gangs had their own music. They walked ("bopped") around with a box radio, starting a subculture inviting music in the lives of gang members. The Black Spades were also participants in the Hoe Avenue peace meeting.
The organization had a strong following through the late 1990s. Around this time many young members of the organization transitioned their membership to the bloods street gang of NYC.
Hip hop culture
New York street gang activity peaked in 1973, and then began to decline. Reasons for this decline included violence with other gangs, drug use, members leaving because the gangs became too large and members following Afrika Bambaataa into the Universal Zulu Nation.
Times were also changing, park jams, block parties and clubs were becoming more popular. The beginnings of hip hop culture began to form in these venues, and as gang members and former gang members started getting involved in more Hip Hop activities, involvement in the gangs declined.
|“||It started coming together as far as the gangs terrorizing a lot of known discotheques back in the days. I had respect from some of the gang members because they used to go to school with me. There were the Savage Skulls, Glory Stompers, Blue Diamonds, Black Cats and Black Spades.||”|
Afrika Bambaataa was the warlord of the Black Spades before becoming a famous hip hop DJ. He later went on to form the Universal Zulu Nation on November 12, 1973; Many Black Spades gang members followed Afrika Bambaataa into the group.
- Hip-Hop History Month.UNIVERSAL FEDERATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF HIP HOP CULTURE, THE,http://www.zulunation.com/hip_hop_history_2.htm. Retrieved 2012-01-11