November 30, 1950 |
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
|Other names||King Larry
Chairman of The Board
|Spouse(s)||Winndye Jenkins (common-law wife)|
|Children||Larry Hoover, Jr.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Hoover's parents moved the family north to Chicago, Illinois, when Hoover was four years old. By the time he was 12 years old, Hoover was on the streets with his friends. Calling themselves "supreme gangsters," the group would often ditch school together and ride the train around the city.
As the gang grew, Hoover emerged as the natural leader. Known as "Prince Larry," Hoover, along with rival gang leader David Barksdale, decided to merge their gangs into one: the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. In 1974, after Barksdale died from kidney failure due to an earlier shooting, Hoover took the reins of the Gangster Disciples Nation, which now had control of Chicago's South Side. Under Hoover's rule, the Gangster Disciples took over the South Side drug trade. While incarcerated, Hoover helped form the Folks Nation, which added other gangs such as: Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Imperial Gangsters, La Raza, Spanish Cobras, Latin Eagles, Maniac Latin Disciples, Simon City Royals, Latin Jivers, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Two Sixers, Young Latino Organization Disciples, Young Latino Organization Cobras, Black King Cobras, and International Posse.
While incarcerated, "King Hoover" ran the gang's illicit drug trade in prison and on the streets, starting from Chicago's West Side and later extending throughout the United States. By the early '90s Hoover claimed to have renounced his violent criminal past and became an urban political celebrity in Chicago, and the GDs earned fans in the community with charity events and peaceful protests. He proclaimed that GD now meant "Growth & Development." A lengthy federal investigation using wiretaps led to Hoover getting another life sentence in 1995. Hoover's gang allegedly has had 30,000 "soldiers" in 35 states and made US$ 100 million a year, a total of $3,300.30 USD per "soldier" annually (though as with all underground criminal enterprises, it's hard to say).
"Growth and Development"
Hoover, inspired by the biography of Mayor Richard J. Daley, began discouraging violence in his followers. Instead, he made education mandatory for members of the Gangster Disciples, and instructed his army to "go to school, learn trades and develop...talents and skills, so that we will become stronger in society."
Changing the GD of "Gangster Disciples" to "Growth and Development," Hoover's move to reform began gaining positive attention from the outside. Growth and Development created nonprofit organizations that registered voters, a music label that helped needy children, a series of peaceful protests to fight the closing of public programs, and even a clothing line for charity.
Prison officials, however, saw Hoover's "good intentions" as a ploy to get out of prison and resume his illegal activities. While friends and allies on the outside lobbied to get Hoover paroled for his contributions to society, law enforcement agents say Hoover was finding new ways to expand his criminal ventures. The Gangster Disciples had grown to more than 15,000 members in at least five states. Their drug profits had also risen well into the millions of dollars—all of which gang members attributed to the leadership of Larry Hoover. Transferred to a minimum security prison in Vienna, Illinois, Hoover was living a luxurious lifestyle that involved new clothes, expensive jewelry, specially prepared meals, and private visitations from friends and loved ones. Suspicious authorities began wire-tapping Hoover's private meetings, and discovered that he was running the Gangster Disciple group from within the prison system.
Worse still, informants revealed that all of Hoover's nonprofit organizations were actually fronts for laundering drug money. According to the testimony of Gangster Disciple members, the proceeds for any of the so-called charities actually went to helping no one in need.
On August 31, 1995, after a 5-year undercover investigation by the federal government, Hoover was indicted for drug conspiracy, extortion, and continuing to engage in a criminal enterprise. He was arrested at the Vienna Correctional Center by federal agents, and moved to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago to stand trial. In 1997, Hoover was found guilty on all charges, and sentenced to six life sentences. Hoover is currently serving his sentence at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado.
In popular culture
Larry Hoover provided vocals in the form of telephone conversatons on a pair of tracks from the Geto Boys' 1996 album The Resurrection; track 1: "Ghetto Prisoner," and track 14: "A Visit with Larry Hoover," specifically. Hoover's now defunct clothing line, Ghetto Prisoner Wear, was also advertised in the liner notes to the album.