Gangster Disciples

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The Gangster Disciples are a drug gang with affiliates operating in the Birmingham area.

The gang originated in Chicago's south side. Former "Supreme Gangsters" leader Larry Hoover formed an alliance, the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, with David Barksdale's gangs in 1969. They jointly began operating as a community organization with numerous social programs, but the alliance broke down under a flood of drugs in the early 1970s. After Barksdale's death, Hoover (then serving a 150-year sentence in Illinois State Prison) and Jerome "Shorty" Freeman were candidates to succeed him, but ended up splitting into the Gangster Disciples and Black Gangster Disciples in 1978. Hoover's Gangster Disciples then formed the nucleus of the Folk Nation, which grew to include several Latin-American street gangs.

The Folk Nation broke up into inter-alliance warring in the early 1990s. As a result of the fighting the Black Gangster Disciples dropped the first word of their name to distinguish themselves from the Black Disciples. In 1993 Hoover, addressing a large gathering in Kankakee, Illinois by telephone from prison, announced that the focus of the Gangster Disciples would shift from illegal activities to "Growth and Development". The shift opened the way for a new "Outlaw Gangster Disciples" drug gang, headed by Charles "Big Shot" Dorsey, to flourish. The Outlaw faction eventually broke their allegiance to the Gangster Disciples leadership, triggering a war centered in the Cabrini Green projects. The war ended in a truce in which Dorsey was granted high-ranking role in the GD Nation, but he was assassinated in the late 1990s. His death brought about a new generation of unaffiliated "Outlaw" or "Renegade" Gangster Disciple gangs.

Members of the Gangster Disciples dress in blue and black, including Georgetown Hoyas or Duke Blue Devils gear. The letters "GD" or the cipher 7-4 (or 7-4-14 for Gangster Disciple Nation) are seen in their graffiti tags, which often feature a heart with wings or a 6-pointed star (to honor "King David") along with spread pitchforks. The gang is highly structured with a network of "Positions of Authority" and a strict rule of "Silence and Secrecy," punishable by death.

A major round-up of Gangster Disciples leaders in Georgia in May 2016 also included the arrest of Terrence "T-Man" Summers in Birmingham. He was described as a former "Governor" of the Gangster Disciples in Alabama and "Governor of Governors" for the gang's affiliates in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. Chauntay "Snake" Craig and Quiana Franklin were arrested along with Summers on May 4. Forty-eight people were charged under the RICO act as part of that investigation. Summers was also charged with distributing heroin.

Craig, a "Board Member" of the Gangster Disciples, pleaded guilty in August 2019 to charges of racketeering conspiracy involving murder, and drug trafficking. He was sentenced in January 2021 to 40 years in federal prison.


  • Robinson, Carol (May 25, 2016) "Accused gang leader now charged with heroin distribution." The Birmingham News
  • Robinson, Carol (January 22, 2021) "Gangster Disciples leader from Birmingham gets 40 years for racketeering conspiracy involving murder." The Birmingham News