Almighty Vice Lord Nation
|Founding location||Chicago, Illinois|
|Ethnicity||Mostly African American|
|Criminal activities||Drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, fraud, money laundering, murder|
The Almighty Vice Lord Nation (abbreviated AVLN) is the second largest and one of the oldest street gangs in Chicago, Illinois. Their total membership is estimated to be between 30,000 and 35,000. They are also one of the founding members of the People Nation multi-gang alliance.
Origin and growth
In 1958, the Vice Lords gang was founded by several African American youths originally from the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. These youths met while incarcerated in the Illinois State Training School for Boys in St. Charles (also known as the St. Charles Juvenile Correctional Facility). At the time, they were led by founding member Edward "Pepalo" Perry. The name "vice" was chosen when a gang founder looked up the term in the dictionary and found the meaning as "having a tight hold".
As the original Vice Lords group were released from incarceration, they quickly began to recruit other youths from their neighborhood and began engaging in conflicts with other "clubs" from various Chicago neighborhoods. By 1964, they had grown significantly and law enforcement named them as a primary target for their various illegal activities, including robbery, theft, assaults, battery, intimidation, and extortion. They were noted for their violent behavior 
In an attempt at softening their public image, a leader of one of the original 8 Vice Lord sets changed the gang's name to "Conservative Vice Lords", which today serves as the foundation of the entire Vice Lord Nation. They developed new logos and advertised themselves as a community outreach group. They went as far as to petition for a community outreach chapter named "Conservative Vice Lord Incorporated". This attempt was successful enough that the group began to receive a large amount of positive publicity from various politicians and community leaders. CVL, Inc. established a number of recreational areas for neighborhood children which were then used as meeting houses after they had closed for the day.
In 1970, two Vice Lord leaders applied for a $275,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The Rockefeller Foundation approved the grant. This particular era of the CVL is documented in the 1970 film, Lord ThMcIlvaine, Leonard Sengali and William Franklin
At the same time, the gang was successfully consolidating smaller neighborhood gangs (including the Cherokees, the Morphines, the Commanches, the Continental Pimps, the Imperial Chaplains, the Clovers, the Cobras, and the Braves) into the Vice Lord Nation. As a result, their numbers swelled significantly. In spite of the positive press, it was soon discovered that the Vice Lords were still violent criminals.
Muslim identity adopted (1980s)
After public pressure, a federal investigation into CVL, Inc.'s use of the Rockefeller grant money was conducted and as a result, several leaders were arrested and sent to prison. By the early 1980s, Perry and Alfred were dead and Gore was in prison for murder. The younger Vice Lord leadership attempted to conceal the gang's true intentions with another camouflage campaign, this time by adopting Islamic ideologies. By the mid-1990s, they had created a large document called Lords of Islam which addressed new rules for the gang. Their headquarters, located near Pulaski and 16th Street, is referred to as the "Holy City".
1990s and beyond
In the 1990s, the Vice Lords, while engaging in the usual activities, became much more sophisticated and expanded into mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, and money laundering.
Symbols and emblems
Vice Lord street gangs use a variety of gang graffiti symbols or emblems, to identify themselves and their gang 'turf' including:
- A hat cocked to the left side. (Left represents the People Nation alliance and cocking to the right represents the Folk Nation alliance)
- Rabbit wearing a bow tie (The Playboy logo)
- Martini glass
- The letters "VL"
- Top hat and cane
- Five-point star - The five points represent (clockwise from top): Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom and Justice.
- Crescent moon
- Five point crown
As a teenager growing up on Chicago's West Side in the 1960s, Willie Lloyd joined the Unknown Vice Lords, a faction based along 16th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood. Lloyd soon became the faction's leader and recruited thousands of followers. Eventually he proclaimed himself "King of Kings" and stated that he was the leader of the entire Vice Lord Nation. However, his tenure was interrupted by a prison term for his part in the murder of a police officer in Iowa.
Lloyd continued to lead the gang on the outside through fellow inmates and prison employees affiliated with the gang. While incarcerated, Lloyd wrote The Amalgamated Order of Lordism, a 61-page manifesto on the Vice Lord command structure in the prisons and on the streets. He was incarcerated in 1971 until his release on parole in 1986, then was back in prison a year later on a weapons conviction until another parole in 1992. When he left prison in 1992, he was picked up by fellow gang members dressed in furs who were driving a convoy of five limousines.
Later in 1992, he was involved in a protracted gang war over control of the Vice Lord Nation, involving kidnapping and the murder of rival members' children. Law enforcement intensified its efforts to remove Lloyd from the street, and from 1994 to 2001, he was again incarcerated for weapons violations.
During Lloyd's quarter-century as gang leader, Vice Lord drug deals, extortion and other crimes reportedly led to thousands of homicides. In 1996, police had supposedly linked every murder committed in Chicago's 15th district back to orders from Lloyd.
Lloyd supposedly quit the Vice Lords after his release from prison, and became an outspoken critic of gang life. Lloyd attempted to earn a living as a gang mediator, and he became affiliated with a non-profit organization, as well as DePaul University, where briefly, he was a guest lecturer, which was controversial, in part due to a "field trip" Lloyd had for his students.
In August 2003, Lloyd was shot four times in Garfield Park. This was the third assassination attempt on Lloyd. Lloyd became paralyzed from the neck down due to injuries from the shooting. Rumors persisted that Lloyd still wanted to collect a "tax" from the Vice Lords as its leader, even though he had supposedly left gang life. Lloyd has given interviews stating that he believes his attackers included some of his former henchmen.
Lloyd died on 20 July 2015 in the care of relatives in Minnesota.
- "National Gang Threat Assessment 2009 - Appendix B. Street Gangs". National Gang Intelligence Center. January 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Curran Kirby, Kate; Mars Eghigian; Jr. and Joseph Petrenko (2006). "1". In James W. Wagner. The Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book. Chicago Crime Commission. pp. 18–20. OCLC 70236857.
- Kontos, L., & Brotherton, D. (Eds.). (2008). Encyclopedia of gangs. Abc-clio. p. 265. Retrieved 23 April 2015 from http://sociology.sunimc.net/htmledit/uploadfile/system/20110227/20110227021625840.pdf
- Dawley, David (March 1, 1993). A Nation of Lords: The Autobiography of the Vice Lords (2nd ed.). Waveland Pr Inc;. p. 11. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
- "Gang and Security Threat Group Awareness". Florida Dept. of Corrections. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- O'Connor, Matt (May 19, 1994). "U.S. JURY QUICKLY CONVICTS WILLIE LLOYD". Chicago Tribune. p. 13.
- Marin, Carol (August 27, 2003). "Hard evidence about shootings ; What the attack on Willie Lloyd has to do with the state budget". Chicago Tribune. p. 25.
- Pelton, Tom (April 14, 1994). "21 ARRESTS IN GANG TIED TO LLOYD". Chicago Tribune. p. 1.
- Main, Frank (April 7, 2002). "Dope sales build secret empires". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- staff (August 21, 2003). "Leading Vice Lords gang figure critically wounded in shooting". Chicago Red Eye. p. 6.