D.C. Blacks

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The D.C. Blacks is an African-American prison gang in the United States whose members are from Washington D.C.. They are allied with the Black Guerrilla Family and some other black prison gangs. The Aryan Brotherhood is one of their main rivals.[1] The D.C. Blacks make up one of the largest single ethnic groups in the overall federal prison population by 10 percent.[2] They are known for being well educated in violence, locker knocking, petty theft, and rape from their time spent at Lorton, a D.C. penitentiary. Although the D.C. Blacks are one of the largest prison gangs within penitentiaries, they are small compared to the gangs outside of the prison system, such as the Bloods and the Crips.[3]


The D.C. Blacks prison gang is said to have originated in the late 1960s or the early 1970s.[4] From being in prison, the D.C. Blacks became enemies with another prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood, which is a group consisting of only convicted white men. The race wars against the D.C. Blacks raged across the federal system in the early 1980s and again in the 1990s when two of the high-ranking officers within the D.C. Blacks were stabbed and killed at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania by Aryan Brotherhood members. The race war in the federal system between the Aryan Brotherhood and the D.C. Blacks started on November 22, 1981 when a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, Thomas “Terrible Tom” Silverstein, murdered a member of the D.C. Blacks, Robert M. Chappelle. An FBI investigation was sparked when Chappelle’s body was found dead in his cell at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The race war continued when Silverstein killed again on September 27, 1982 when the alleged national leader of the D.C. Blacks, Raymond “Cadillac” Smith, was killed after being stabbed 67 times. The violent campaign against the D.C. Blacks and the alleged race war were at the center of the government’s 2002 indictment against the Aryan Brotherhood when one of the leaders from the Aryan Brotherhood allegedly ordered the 1997 killing of two D.C. Blacks at Lewisburg with an invisible ink message written in urine. This message was sent to Lewisburg to warn their other members that the D.C. Blacks called hits on two of their members. Messages began to be going back and forth between the two penitentiaries calling hits on both gangs.[3]

In December of 1996, the D.C. Blacks killed a white inmate at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg.[5] The prison gang reached their limit with this murder and started to be transferred from Lewisburg to Marion. Since Lewisburg was having racial problems, a white inmate was transferred from Lewisburg to Marion and was told to start making knives and organizing the Aryan Brotherhood members.[3] On January 2, 1997, about a dozen members of the D.C. Blacks attacked six white inmates at Marion. Michael Wagner, an Aryan Brotherhood member, was transferred by prison officials from Marion to the supermax prison at Florence, Alabama to prevent him from assaulting any members from the D.C. Blacks. One of the Aryan Brotherhood leaders, Barry Byron Mills, authorized the wars between them and the D.C. Blacks so they could be nationwide, killing as many of the D.C. Blacks as they could.[5]

The D.C. Blacks became one of the driving forces behind the rising violence across all penitentiaries. They are described as one of the largest and most problematic gangs within the federal population. This gang is known to be problematic because they are said to be very proficient with all kinds of improvised weapons. Eddie Griffin, a convict from Marion, stated that the D.C. Blacks knew the art and science of killing. The members could allegedly carry out an execution and get rid of all evidence within minutes. After Silverstein killed Chappelle, the D.C. Blacks were quick to retaliate. They plotted and carried out the execution of Neil Baumgarten, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, in 1982. The gang started to target other ethnicities as the race war was heating up. Assassinations and executions were carried out for most of the 1990’s at Marion. The D.C Blacks eventually had a gang clash with the Sureños, a Hispanic prison gang, as well as with other fellow African-Americans. Attacks between prison gangs became a normal action within penitentiaries following into the 2000’s.[4]

Today, members of the D.C. Blacks still inhabit some of the United States correctional facilities. Local law enforcement agencies as well as the FBI are still attempting to clean up the mess and contain the situation between the gangs.[4] Individuals from both the D.C. Blacks and the Aryan Brotherhood have testified in court, giving the public a general idea of what life at Marion looked like. Although it is allegedly known that the Aryan Brotherhood committed the most murders in the race war, two black prison gang members have testified that the notorious Aryan Brotherhood was too small and weak to attack a rival black gang behind bars and incite a race war.[6] The case, US vs Mills, No CR02-938 (C) (C.D. Calif.), is believed to be one of the largest death penalty cases in U.S. history. It alleges that imprisoned Aryan Brotherhood ringleaders orchestrated 32 murders and attempted murders over a 30-year period. Of the 40 people originally arrested, up to 16 could face the death penalty in several trials.[3]  

Aryan Brotherhood rivalry[edit]

The Aryan Brotherhood, also known as the Brand or the AB, is a white prison gang and organized crime syndicate in the United States with an estimated 15,000–20,000 members in and out of prison. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Aryan Brotherhood makes up an extremely low percentage of the entire US prison population but is responsible for a disproportionately large number of prison murders. To join, members may swear a blood oath or take a pledge; acceptance into the Aryan Brotherhood is aided by a prospect's willingness to kill a black or a Hispanic prisoner.

Major presence in penitentiaries[edit]

United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg[edit]

The United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates. The start of the race wars between the D.C. Blacks and the Aryan Brotherhood began at Lewisburg. This was the penitentiary that both the D.C. Blacks and the Aryan Brotherhood carried out the most of their murders and other violent acts.

United States Penitentiary, Marion[edit]

The United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois is a medium-security United States federal prison for male inmates. Marion was the penitentiary where the prison gangs were transferred when they reached their limit with murders and other violent acts. Some members from the D.C. Blacks and the Aryan Brotherhood were continually transferred to other penitentiaries for the protection of other inmates. The D.C. Blacks carried out the most assassinations and executions at Marion in the 1990's. The D.C. Blacks and the Aryan Brotherhood have testified in court about how life at Marion looked like.


  1. ^ "Aryan Brotherhood: Prison Gang Profile". www.insideprison.com. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  2. ^ "DC Blacks Prison Gang - GangsterBB.NET". www.gangsterbb.net. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  3. ^ a b c d Butterfly Blog (2011-10-25). "The Brand". Gorilla Convict. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  4. ^ a b c "D.C. Blacks". unitedgangs.com. 2017-11-28. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  5. ^ a b "FindLaw's United States Ninth Circuit case and opinions". Findlaw. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  6. ^ "Black inmates defend Aryan Brotherhood". East Bay Times. 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2019-04-30.