Black Guerrilla Family

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Black Guerilla Family
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Founded 1966
Founder George Jackson, W.L. Nolen
Founding location San Quentin State Prison
Years active 1966–present
Territory Most US prisons
Ethnicity African American
Membership 100-300 full members with 50,000 associates
Criminal activities Drug trafficking[1] auto theft,[1] robbery,[1] and homicide[1]
Allies Symbionese Liberation Army, Nuestra Familia,[2][3] Crips, Bloods,[2] Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground,[2] Gangster Disciples.[2]
Rivals Aryan Brotherhood,[2] Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate

The Black Guerilla Family (also known as the Black Family or the Black Vanguard) is an African American prison and street gang founded in 1966 by George Jackson and W.L. Nolen while they were incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California.

Philosophy and goals[edit]

Inspired by Marcus Garvey, the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) was characterized as an ideological African-American Marxist Leninist[4] revolutionary organization composed of prisoners. It was founded with the stated goals of eradicating racism, maintaining dignity in prison, and overthrowing the United States government.


The Black Guerrilla Family was founded by George Jackson in a Maryland prison during the Black Power movement. The group later became a recognizable organized crime force in the United States.

Huey P. Newton murder[edit]

On August 22, 1989, co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Huey P. Newton was fatally shot outside 1456 9th St in West Oakland by 24-year-old Black Guerilla Family member, Tyrone Robinson.[5] Relations between Newton and factions within the Black Guerilla Family had been strained for nearly two decades. Former Black Panther Party members who became BGF members in jail had become disenchanted with Newton for his perceived abandonment of imprisoned Black Panther members and allegations of Newton's fratricide within the party. In his book, Shadow of the Panther, Hugh Pearson alleges that Newton was addicted to crack cocaine, and his extortion of local BGF drug dealers to obtain free drugs added to their animosity.[6]

Robinson was convicted of the murder in August 1991 and sentenced to 32 years for the crime.[7]

Fay Stender attempted murder[edit]

In 1979, former BGF lawyer Fay Stender was shot five times by recently paroled Black Guerilla Family member Edward Glenn Brooks for what Brooks said was Stender’s betrayal of George Jackson. Brooks forced Stender to state: "I, Fay Stender, admit I betrayed George Jackson and the prison movement when they needed me most" just before he shot her.[8] Stender was left paralyzed below the waist and in constant pain by the assault and committed suicide in Hong Kong shortly after she testified against Brooks.[9]

Baltimore unrest[edit]

Baltimore police claimed that the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods, and the Crips were "teaming up" to target police officers.[10] Later, however, leaders of both the Bloods and the Crips denied the allegations,[11] released a video statement asking for calm and peaceful protest in the area,[12] and joined with police and clergy to enforce the curfew.[13] At one occasion, gang members helped to prevent a riot at the Security Square Mall by dispersing attempted rioters.[14] On other occasions, rival gang members helped each other to protect black-owned businesses, black children, and reporters, diverting rioters to Chinese- and Arab-owned businesses instead.[15]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Gangs in the United States" (PDF). Narcotics Digest weekly 4 (40): 12. October 4, 2005. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Florida Department of Corrections. "Prison Gangs (continued) - Gangs and Security Threat Group Awareness". Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  3. ^ "Major Prison Gangs". Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Suspect Admits Shooting Newton, Police Say". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 27, 1989. Retrieved May 8, 2013. The police said late Friday that an admitted drug dealer had acknowledged killing Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party 
  6. ^ Hugh Pearson, Shadow of the Panther. p. 6
  7. ^ Los Angeles Times, 10-10-91, pA22; 12-5-91, pA19.
  8. ^ Russell, Diana (Spring 1991). "Fay Stender and the Politics of Murder". On The Issues Magazine. 
  9. ^ Horowitz, David; Collier, Peter (1981). "Requiem for a Radical". New West. 
  10. ^ "Baltimore police say gangs 'teaming up' to take out officers". The Baltimore Sun. April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  11. ^ Porter, Tom (April 28, 2015). "Bloods and Crips gangs reject claims of kill-a-cop pact". International Business Times. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Gangs call for calm in Baltimore". The Baltimore Sun. April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ Berman, John; Castillo, Mariano (April 28, 2015). "Baltimore gangs will help enforce curfew". CNN. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  14. ^ Haake, Garrett W (April 28, 2015). "Gang members help prevent riot at Baltimore mall". WUSA. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ Nixon, Ron (April 27, 2015). "Amid Violence, Factions and Messages Converge in a Weary and Unsettled Baltimore". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Black Guerilla Family Prison Tattoo". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 

External links[edit]