The Black Disciples


George Knox, Ph.D.


Coprighted 2004: National Gang Crime Research Center.


            The Black Disciples (BDs) are the Chicago "folks" gang that gained international notoriety in 1994 by executing its eleven-year-old member "Yummy". It is also unique in its comparison with another African-American gang, the Gangster Disciples (GDs). While the GDs are structured like a corporate enterprise, the BDs are structured more like a religion where gang leaders are called "ministers". The BDs trace their historical roots directly to "King David Barksdale". In other respects, the BDs are like many other American gangs in that this type of gang is able to exist over time only by the criminal exploitation of children.


            The GDs, BGs, and BDs all became separate gang entities through splintering from the Black Gangster Disciples. It all began with "King David", chief of the Devils Disciples. When King David died in 1974, the new umbrella organization was the Black Gangster Disciples (BGDs). However, in 1978 three groups splintered off from the BGDs all having their origins from the original Devils Disciples (BGs, GDs, and BDs). The splintering was due to the individual leaders. This profile of the BD's shows that even within the BD's a splintering has occurred. This gang phenomenon has also been seen in "people" or "brothers" gangs, like the Latin Kings, where the East Coast version of the Latin Kings has a completely different written constitution than that found in the original Chicago version of the gang. Given the natural way in which this splintering phenomenon occurs in gangs, it is theoretically possible to induce the same effect by the separation and promotion of leadership skills. We are not implying this should be done in the form of social engineering, but rather that conflict among gang leaders in the same gang also occurs naturally and predictably. However, rather than allowing the gang to "settle" its internal disputes, in a correctional setting it may be worthwhile to transfer out one of the members along with some of his most earnest supporters. This could potentially create a "schism", unresolved conflict in the leadership structure of the gang, and therefore provide the basis for a splintering effect. The theory that a smaller decentralized gang would be more "manageable" would be the basis for viewing the splintering effect as a positive development from a gang control strategy viewpoint.


            As of this writing, there may be as many as 300 "sets" of the BDs throughout the Chicagoland area. Each "set" typically has 30 to 40 members, and is identical in the format of its organizational structure. Each "set" is actually called a "dynasty" in the language of the BDs, and refers to a specific section of the BD organization.

            In each set or dynasty of the BDs, the lowest ranking members are soldiers or representatives. The permanent leadership ranks include: Minister, Assistant Co-Minister, and the Demetrius. One rank above the ordinary members is the "First Demetrius". One rank above the First Demetrius is the "Assistant Co-Minister". Above this in each set is the "Minister". All sets revere "King David" at the head of their organization, even though "King David" is dead. The living top boss of this mob is "King Shorty", also known as the "crowned king" (Jerome Freeman).

            Each set or dynast y also has the following temporary positions of rank that exist underneath the First Demetrius: (1) Chief of Violations, (2) Chief of Security, and (3) Assistant Chief of Security. These positions may rotate periodically, because the labor is basically unrewarded (the responsibility outweighs the authority and economic benefits).

            Overall each set, chapter, or "dynasty" as the BDs call it is a middle management leadership structure that is comparable to the BG's gang. There are several generals or "dons", each of which may have "deputies". It is through this middle management leadership that money passes up the ladder from the set, chapter, or "dynasty" to the higher echelon in the BD gang hierarchy.


            This gang does not exist solely and exclusively to sell drugs and do nothing else. It has meetings, parties, and reaches into many non-contiguous geographical areas. It has unique hand signs, gang logos, and written codes. However, it is like other adult dominated centralized authoritarian gang structures in that the vast majority of the "members" are youths, more specifically underage juveniles, and there is one long recurring activity that this gang can at any time day or night be found to be engaging in: selling illegal drugs.

            The term "putting in Nation work" means selling drugs for the gang set. The phrase "getting new work" from the gang means collecting a new batch of drugs for sale. This may mean picking up ten bags of marijuana, the proceeds from seven of the bags must be returned to the local gang leader, the proceeds from the other three are "profit" for the individual member.

            The vast majority of the illegal drug income goes directly up the ladder of this adult-driven enterprise. Every BD member we talked to indicated illegal drug sales was the primary activity of the BDs and this was in fact a gang sponsored activity. Much of the "internal rules" for gang members in the BDs are designed to shield the gang and especially the leaders from criminal prosecution regarding this activity.


            Several informants mentioned the gambling enterprises of the BD's were intermixed with the drug sales operations. An apartment in a public housing complex, a house use for selling drugs, an open deserted area: all qualify for settings for running large scale crap games. Clearly, the same kind of gambling goes on at the BD annual gang picnics (24th or 25th of May). But we began to take more notes on the gambling operations when they were a repeated them for this gang. As one informant detailed it: "the BDs are into gambling everywhere and gamble on everything, the fights, superbowl, you name it, they do all types of betting, but dice and large crap games are their they will have a big ole crap game, 30 or 40 people there betting all at once, they have so much security that nothing else is moving....because you have some guys....Derky started it....sticking up the BDs trying to take their work money....they have lots of security always at the craps....and there are a lot of weapons present...because there is so much money involved in crap games that big."

            The BD's also make use of what they call "safe houses". These safe houses are commonly used for business: meetings, drug packaging, and gambling. They prefer sound-proofed buildings, because one of the forms of gambling the gang engages in involves “dog fights”. Dog fights are fights to the death of one of the two dogs pitted against each other. During “warm up” betting times at the dog fights, to spur bets, it is not uncommon to have a handler throw a live cat into the dog ring just to see the effect of the crowd of gamblers when the cat is rapidly dispatched by the dog.


            The "Minister" is the head position of a BD set. The Minister is typically about 25 years of age and supervises the Assistant Co-Minister and the First Demetrius in the BD set. The assistant co-minister facilitates drug sales or "putting in work" for the "Nation" (i.e., their BD gang), and also collects dues from the BD members. It is the First Demetrius who has hands-on supervision of the BD members. The First Demetrius calls the meetings, distributes gang literature, and makes sure members do "work" for the gang ("work" means selling marijuana, cocaine, and heroin). All of these positions of rank (First Demetrius, Assistant Co-Minister, and Minister) are positions that are only available to members who are 18 years of age and older.


            The BD's are typical in this respect: the members face "violations" for conduct or behavior that is a threat to the social solidarity of the gang organization. The "rules" of this gang are clear, and in writing. These are shown in some of the internal written documents of the BDs to be discussed later in this gang profile.

            Members who violate internal rules face a type of ritualized, violent, punishment in front of other members of the same gang. This punishment occurs at the meetings of the gang. Smaller violations can be met with a "thirty second violation", meaning thirty seconds of punishment meted out by several members of the gang while the member being punished is held, with his arms behind his back, as other members punch the victim in the chest for the time duration of the "violation" being administered. A small violation might be not paying dues or not showing up at meetings. A larger violation may entail a five minute beating. And, of course, BDs have been known to kill their own (i.e., Yummy).

            The typical smaller violations are for conduct that plagues any organization: failure to attend meetings or pay dues. The most serious violations have to do with "nation work". When a member returns an insufficient amount of money (comes up "short" on his "ends") this calls for a major violation. The same occurs when a member "loses" the drug stash that is supposed to be sold in "nation work". Another major violation would be insulting or disrespecting any BD leader, including chapter or set leaders (Minister, Assistant Co-Minister, First Demetrius, etc).


            The BDs regularly organize "house parties" in their neighborhoods. Members and non-members alike will pay a small amount such as $3 for admittance. Age is not a concern, anyone may come to the house parties if they have the admittance fee. In the house parties, the BDs present establish the social status pecking order. Members with rank in the gang clearly stand out. Non-members take second seat to the BD members. It is therefore an opportunity to recruit new members to the BDs. As it affords a time for social interaction, drinking and smoking marijuana, with local BD leaders it is also a solidarity building mechanism for the gang. They are able to have their "good time" on a social basis where their membership counts for something. It is in this context of the "house parties" that the rules of the gang really come into play, particularly about disrespecting leaders or other members. Members are careful about the jokes and the expressions they use in their conversations and interactions with other members. They learn to be "on guard" socially. For example, they may want to express how they detest another member, but they really cannot do so, as it would call for a "violation".

            House parties are also occasions to honor the birthdays of area BD leaders. A cake will be decorated with the BD gang symbols, honoring the birthday of the BD leader, which is also an occasion for taking polaroid photographs. The NGCRC has obtained quite a collection of these over the years. The main gang symbols decorated on the birthday cake will be the six pointed star of david, inside the star will be the "III" symbol. The "III" symbol is a key logo to the BDs. At the top of the Star of David will be "King" and at the bottom of the star "David". To the left and right will be names of other important gang members, perhaps including some deceased and some active members who are honoring the gang leader with the cake.


            The BD hand sign looks similar to that used by the Boy Scouts. The hand sign for the BD's is to depress the thumb tip to cover the depressed little finger, leaving three extended fingers pointing upwards. Most use the right hand, but depending on the occasion or context the left hand will also do. This is signifying the "trey", the "III" sign. Another sign is the fists clenched, knuckles out, with right hand on top of the left hand in front of the body.

            In the BD hand sign the three extended fingers are slightly separated giving the "I I I" effect, also known as the "trey" sign to the BDs. A naive adult might mistake this sign for that used by Boy Scouts.


            Tattoos are common among the older BDs and among more hardcore younger members. The most common tattoo is a Star of David six pointed star with the "III" (trey) symbol, or simply "B.D.N." or "B.D.". Most of the juvenile members do not have the permanent tattoos. It would not be in the best interests of the BD gang to have its very young members with the tattoos, that way being easy to identify by the parents of the same children. Without the gang tattoo, the parent still has plausible deniability as well: some just do not want to know for certain their child is in fact in a gang. It is common for parents to bury their children who have been members and claim "I never knew he was in a gang or I would have done something about it".


             There is great variation in the scheduling of meetings and places where BD meetings occur. In good or warmer weather, a large back porch may be used as a meeting site for the BDs. Sometimes an enclosed garage large enough to accommodate the meeting may be used. Homes and abandoned buildings are also used.

            The two most common items on the agenda of any BD meeting are: violations and paying dues. The violations to members are dispensed at these meetings. Dues are also collected at meetings. Dues are typically $5.00 for a member payable every time there is a meeting. It seems there is no fixed date for BD meetings, they are called by the set leaders on an as needed basis. This averages about two meetings a month for a typical BD set.

            Going to meetings for the BD gang, perhaps as in other gangs, can be a time for fear for the gang members. One of the things they fear most is that they will be singled out by their own gang. Here is how one informant described the situation: "when they have meetings they call on someone to recite the prayer at random...whoever they call upon better know the prayer from front to back by memory, because if they do not they will be dealt with harshly....they will get a violation....the members have to know their gang literature....they regard it as sacred the meetings they put a religious meaning on it".



      We have run across numerous examples of Chicago gangs making intentional forays into Milwaukee, Wisconsin over the years. If we were to believe the qualitative data from the book People and Folks we would believe no such real Chicago connection exists. The El Rukn's were the first to discover the value of selling Chicago drugs in laid-back comfortable Milwaukee. Louis Hoover (an El Rukn) "was one of two generals who ran El Rukn's Milwaukee drug operation in the late 1970's and 1980's" (see: Chicago Tribune, May 27, 1992, section 2, p. 9, Matt O'Connor). We have heard from several informants interviewed specifically for this BD profile that a BD chapter was intentionally formed in Milwaukee as well in the mid 1980's.

            As one BD informant described it: "We had plenty of BDs in Milwaukee....I stayed there half a summer in 1992...the way they got started is guys from Chicago went up there to sell drugs, it is a better environment for the drug get your own strip....your own spot....that's your run that....its like a do you get a strip in Chicago, its almost impossible, everything is being used. The BD leaders have got it scouted out everywhere, so to open up your own operation in a place like Milwaukee, what you got to do is talk to the man in Stateville, he will give you the okay to open up this place, but without the word you cannot make a move.....BDs are nationwide.....its a nationwide thing".


            The 4'6", 86 pound eleven year old Robert "Yummy" Sandifer brought unwanted international attention to the BD gang in late August, and early September, 1994. Yummy belonged to the BD set called the "8 balls", because this particular set of BDs was geographically located at 108th Street. Yummy was not a peewee, nor simply an associate, he was a BD member. Yummy got his name "Yummy" because he liked cookies so much. By the time Yummy reached the ripe old age of 11, when he would be executed by his own gang, he had already accumulated a record that included 12 felony arrests. His set of the gang sent Yummy out to shoot at some GDs. His gang chief gave Yummy a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. The result was predictably tragic: Yummy did fire the weapon and was able to wound two members of the GDs, however, a stray round from the gun fired by Yummy ended up killing a non-gang member, a 14-year-old girl named Shavon Dean, who was simply an innocent bystander. Chicago was outraged and horrified at this event. Yummy hid and went back to the 8-Balls. Then members from an adjoining BD set (Edbrook) executed Yummy, shooting him in the back of the head with a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

            The geographical grid of Chicago is used to give each set of the BDs its distinct name. Yummy belonged to the "8-Ball" set of the BDs, this set is still based at 108th Street and Perry in Chicago. The set whose members actually killed Yummy is located at 107th and Edbrook, called the Edbrook set. Another nearby set includes "Dirty Perry", the BD set at 107th and Perry.

             Two youths, both BD's, were arrested for killing "Yummy": Derrick Hardaway (14) and his brother Cragg Hardaway (16). Both told police their gang leader directed them to get rid of Yummy. Their gang leader had provided them with a car to transport Yummy in, the ruse being that they would take Yummy away from Chicago.


            Female involvement in the BDs fits the pattern of the chivalry hypothesis: "sisters" can be full fledged members, but are unlikely to rise to prominence in the male dominated authoritarian cult-like organization. In some sets, up to 30 percent of the members are females. Generally, females are not "sexed in" as an initiation ceremony, which may be due to the fact that most of the sets are very provincial in nature: sometimes covering only a one block area of "turf". Leadership positions are, in theory, open to women. However, no women are known to have had major positions in the BDs over a long period of time.

            Similar to other gangs, the BD's have a separate "wing" in their membership for older or hardcore female members. It is called the "Daughters of the Universal Star". It is basically a female branch. As one informant described it: "they have their own sessions; they have their little meetings; they have to appoint a chief over them; you respect them and their rank; they make decisions, and if you are asked to do something and get it cleared, you have to use your judgement, they will mislead you....they sell drugs, they kill, they give violations, just the same as the men do". Still, there is limited realistic opportunity for "rank advancement" for females in the BDs.


            The main enemies of the BDs, for all practical purposes, are the Black P. Stone Nation, Mickey Cobras, and Vice Lords (i.e., brothers or peoples, gangs riding under the 5 pointed star). However, on the streets BDs have been known to battle it out with GDs on a regular basis as well. One informant described how a BD had drugs stolen from him by a GD. The BDs subsequently administered a brutal beating to the GD. Not surprisingly the GDs then came to the BD set and "blasted away", shooting up the neighborhood.

            Recall that the primary activity of "work" for BD members is selling illegal drugs. So this risky activity can place them in conflict with virtually any other gang that is also involved in drug trafficking.

            Inside the correctional population, the BD's are most closely aligned with the BG's. Both the BD's and the BG's fight regularly with the GD's.


            King David's birthday is a time for one of the most important yearly rituals of the BDs: their gang picnic. The BD's celebrate his birthday with a large gang picnic, usually on May 24th or May 25th. It is the equivalent of a kind of Mardi Gras for the BD's. At Ogden Park at 63rd and Racine, a public park on Chicago's southside, every May 24th there is a picnic in honor of the memory of "King David". One will also find an assortment of other parties and celebrations occurring in individual residences at this important date in Chicago.

            The "King David" commemorative t-shirt is often worn at these events. It is a professionally made full size picture of King David. The cheapest version sells for around $50.

            The BDs are similar to other gangs in Chicago like the GDs in that the BDs hold large scale "picnics" for their members at least once a year. The GD picnics were very well organized and involved many restrictions on the members: no drugs, no guns, no fighting, because to a large extent it was also a publicity gimmick --- there were elected officials (i.e., politicians) who were attending the GD picnic. The BD picnics sound like a lot more fun from a gang member point of view.

            A 1995 BD picnic was similar to the GD style in that members were transported on commercially leased busses. What is different is that one of the BD picnics in 1995 was actually held in the State of Minnesota, thus members were transported across state lines. We interviewed one of the BD members who attended the 1995 picnic in Minnesota.

            he BD picnic had bountiful amounts of food just like the GD picnic. But it also had drugs. Members were given as much marijuana as they could smoke for free. There was also a large amount of gambling going on. So the BD picnic is more expressive (i.e., have a good time), while the GD picnic is more instrumental (i.e., being on good behavior to impress politicians and non-members invited as a public relations ploy).


SHORTY FREEMAN: Leader of the BD’s (1974-2001?)

            Jerome Freeman, known as "King Shorty", has been described similarly by different informants: prefers late model Cadillacs, wears a lot of gold and a rolex watch and a lot of blue jogging suits. However, currently he has only the "props" available to him in a correctional context, as he is serving time in Stateville. He is described as: "quiet, but a very very smooth character, just like Willie Lloyd", "flamboyant in a way, but like an educated banker on the street level", "quite an operator, a real manipulator", "a real shrewd guy, always competing with Don Derky", "Shorty has more class than most gang members, Shorty is a family man with several kids from the same wife". So he is described as being rather calm and collected, but with another side that can sometimes manifest itself. We can illustrate this below.

            One incident where Shorty Freeman "lost his cool" was described to us. This happened when Shorty Freeman was still in Cook County Jail during his trial, before he went to IDOC (Illinois Department of Corrections) where he is currently incarcerated. Here is how an informant who was present at the incident described it:

             "One of our members was in the day room with his boxer shorts on, and it was the time for the day visits in this unit of Cook County Jail. Shorty Freeman was getting a visit from a female at the time and saw our member walking around in his boxer shorts and got offended. Shorty Freeman told the guy to put his clothes on because it was disrespectful to walk around like that in the jail dayroom when his lady could see him. Our member said basically fuck off. The next day the BDs started a confrontation with our mob, so we tore it up with the BDs."

            King Shorty is today serving out his sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) adult division. On or about 2001 it is said that Jerome Freeman saw the writing on the wall and wanted to try to get out of prison without being arrested at the front gate as has happened to other gang leaders. So Jerome claims to have “stepped down” from his throne of being “King Shorty”. This is a controversial issue because it goes to the issue of validity which we will discuss below.

            The validity of the abdication of “King Shorty” cannot be properly evaluated at present, but given the limited data the validity is suspect at best. The reason is that we have not seen the true high levels of “anti-violence” sincerity surface yet: he has not really become an “ex” gang member he has just told the public that he is removing himself from the fray. But the public has heard this before, in the case of Vice Lord leaders for example, like Willie Lloyd: Lloyd comes out of prison and claims to be no longer associated with the gang, but enjoys all the benefits of being the gang leader including heavily armed “body guards” from his gang. So gang leaders in Illinois know they can dodge some heat by claiming to be “out of the gang”, because there are a remarkable number of people who just want to believe them. In Willie Lloyd’s case (before he was shot up most believe by his own gang) he even got a job teaching at a local Chicago university, and of course he was a paid federal research assistant during the same time frame.

            In the case of “King Shorty” the best position to take here is that the “jury is still out” on whether this is a genuine abdication. The BD’s are a gang with some remarkable connections in government, including the criminal justice system: they have had decades to “develop moles” and have systematically corrupted persons in government, including police and correctional officers.

            In short, the controversy is basically whether the “abdication” or stepping down from the position of leadership is a gambit to gain release from prison, or whether it is a genuine effort to get out of the position of paid royalty he is accustomed to: will he become less of a “hands on” administrator of the gang, and more of a “figure head” King? Will his gang continue to pay him and worship him? And most importantly: when will “King Shorty” himself actually denounce the gang as an organization that terrorizes its own communities? When will he order his “underlings” to turn in their guns and drugs? Don’t hold your breath is our advice.


            A major narcotics trafficker who "flipped" was interviewed sometime ago by the NGCRC. The information about dealing with gang leaders was useful to the present profile. This narcotics trafficker has been and continues to be a confidential reliable informant for various agencies including the DEA. This particular informant was in a different gang but he dealt directly with Shorty Freeman on the streets of Chicago over a long period of time. Here is his story:

            "I know Shorty Freeman....drugs is his livelihood...I dealt with him on the street....he used to cop anywhere from 10 to 50 keys of cocaine a month....he got a lot of drugs on consignment....he was always good for it".

            "Shorty had four guys who were in his inner circle, they stuck with him like glue, they were with him at all times, one actually lived with Shorty. Shorty had a house on 51st and I recall Don Derky's house was not too far away from there, they kept a watch on each other's operations, Shorty had more followers, but Don Derky did everything short of having Shorty killed to mess with him".

            "The BDs pretty much look up to Shorty the same way the GDs look up to Larry Hoover, except with the BD's its more like a close knit family, they are not as organized as Hoover's mob. But as far as business is concerned, Shorty does not take any prisoners, I dealt with him hand to hand for about five years I should know. He was real careful."


            We interviewed a BD who was no longer active who was in prison with King Shorty and who had rank in the BD's. This informant described his impressions of Shorty Freeman and they are largely consistent with the previous information:

            "Shorty treated me with respect, he is a real quiet guy, he does not front himself a lot, but you do not know what his moves are, he is very secretive."

            The informant continued that what he like about the BD's was they were "about business", but he also liked the parties, and the money making opportunities in the gang. He also described that King Shorty basically runs his gang remotely from behind bars almost the same way that Larry Hoover administered the GDs: "in Stateville he sits back and lives like a king, inside he is treated like he is on the outside, he dresses like he is on the outside wearing clothes most inmates cannot have, he wears a lot of jewelry inmates cannot have, and he has cash money on him that no inmate is supposed to have, and he has it with him on his possession at all times, like he is on the street...he has guys on security with him where ever he walks, he is never alone.. in prison the way he runs it, its just like Hoover runs it...they have their gatherings.....most of the time they go to church...they use church as a shield....protestant can't be in no big crowd because of prison rules....except in church....they spread the word among themselves in small groups when they meet in church."

            Several informants described how King Shorty seems to have a full time job as a inmate with constant time in the visiting room of Stateville. This is how he sends his "orders" to the streets, through his emissaries. Said one informant "he is just like Hoover....Shorty has steady stream of visitors every day, like Hoover they send out the orders for the streets".

DON DERKY: The Splinter Group Phenomenon in the BDs

            Don Derky is a BD and according to one informant "he's got his own crew, Don Derky used to be a real character, he started an ugly riot in Division 1 at Cook County Jail, Don is a lot older than Shorty, Don Derky started a chapter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early 1980's." Thus, the Don Derky faction of the BDs appears to be a renegade faction within the BDs. However, there is no doubt about the fact that Shorty Freeman is the acknowledged leader of most factions of the BDs. It is obvious as well from different sources that there is a strained relationship between Shorty Freeman and Don Derky. The best way to describe the renegade gang leader Don Derky is that while the BDs have a kind of religious structure to their gang, Don Derky's faction splintered off like a separate sect using the same type of gang gospel, just on a smaller scale.



      The initiation ceremony for new members who are becoming BD's is a relatively simple procedure. The members are not required to engage in a violent crime to show their commitment to the gang. The members are not beaten to test their physical ability to withstand pain. The members simply recite the gang prayer and afterwards the other members present at the meeting put the "treys" on the head of the inductee. "Treys on the head" is the expression describing when the BD member places the three fingers of the right hand, the BD gang hand sign, on the head of the initiate. During the initiation ceremony several members present will place their three finger gang hand sign to touch the head of the new member as a "blessing". Once that is done, the child is a member of the BDs and can begin paying dues and doing their "Nation work". As with other gangs, most new members are children, with an average age of 12. They have about six years of "Nation work" (i.e., selling drugs for the gang) before they are eligible to hold any official position of rank in the gang organization of the BDs. If they are fortunate to live that long, then they typically have accumulated a juvenile arrest record that hardens and prepares them for an adult criminal career.


            A member of the BD's can leave the BD gang with relative ease, that is compared to other gangs where it is "blood in, blood out". Leaving simply involves an agreement not to join any other gang in the future. Leaving should have a justification: "taking a job", "going back to school", "family problems", etc, that is any legitimate "face saving" excuse to sever ties to the gang. Under these optimal conditions, the gang member attends the last meeting, the member invokes the prayer and becomes instantly "inactive" in membership status. However, sometimes when it is known a member is trying to get out other members will provoke a conflict.

            If the member trying to get out of the gang, and through either provocation or natural inclination makes a verbal insult to any other member of the same gang, then the exit ceremony comes with a "violation". The member must endure a ritual physical beating in addition to the other requirements.

            The grip the gang has on its members is very strong and cult-like. The same members reside in the same small geographical area, typically a one block area. They are in constant daily contact with each other in this environment. It is therefore very hard not to associate with the same gang members even after leaving the gang. Such inactive members cannot use any gang signs or associate with any gang members and are expected not to reveal the "nation secrets" of the BDs. A child literally needs to go on "house lock down" status to avoid daily contact with these other gang members. And even this is of limited value when contact arises at school or in routine activities (i.e., meeting at the neighborhood store, fast food place, etc).

            Similar to some other gangs, at age 35 one can "retire" from active status in the BD's to inactive status.


            Mostly, it provides a subcultural economic benefit: a reliable ongoing continual source of illicit drugs for casual drug users who may also reside in the same neighborhood, work there, or routinely visit there. The BD gang provides the drugs of choice: marijuana and cocaine on the southside, add heroin to the list on the westside.

            For the casual drug abusing customers of the gang, they may feel "protected" in this community setting. The nature of their contact to the drug supply is friendly and courteous. They never worry about being "ripped off" or sold "bad drugs". They are satisfied customers. If they live in the same area, the reciprocal ties that develop help to ensure that the gang does not steal their car parts, or harass them, in fact, quite the obverse, they may in the spirit of modern drug pushing "protect their customers".

            The gang resides in the same area where it does its drug business. The community sees these children on the street and knows they are "local boys". The community rarely sees the concealed weapons. When the community hears the routine gun shots the same community wants to believe this was from "outsiders". News flash: no community anywhere in the world wants to believe its own members are responsible for any of its own problems. Thus, the local rumor mill always helps the local gang: the gunshots were "outsiders", but fortunately the local gang was there to "protect the hood" from invading outsiders. Thus, the myth persists that gangs have a prosocial function to protect the neighborhood. The gang protects its business only. The gang's business is drug sales.


            A strong ongoing interest of the National Gang Crime Research Center focuses on historical details about gangs and gang members, particularly the impact of gangs. We maintain a long list of these issues that are yet to be resolved, including the need for interviewers to interview historical figures in the field. We have still not been able, for example, to interview the famous Rev. Fry regarding some issues of the long term impact of assisting Jeff Fort's early gang career.

            We are pleased, in this gang profile, to be able to disclose a good number of previously unknown, very factual details about what may be one of the most famous gang leaders in the United States (i.e., the famous King David). We are not able to disclose the sources of the data, as a book is now in progress about this same issue.

            King David was really DONISE DAVID BARKSDALE, born May 24, 1947, the seventh child of Charlie and Virginia Barksdale. David Barksdale died on September 2, 1974 at the age of 27, from kidney failure as a result of a rival gang gunshot injury sustained four years earlier. He was buried in Restvale Cemetery.

            David Barksdale was born in Sallis, Mississippi. He came to Chicago when his parents (Charlie and Virginia) moved to Chicago in 1957. He did visit his grandfather (John Roby) in Mississippi, but is not known to have done much other travel over his short life span.

            The funeral for David Barksdale was at the Golden Gate Funeral Home, 2036 West 79th Street, Chicago. Officiating at the funeral and delivering the eulogy was an Elder J. Jackson. The funeral director was Bro. E. Edwards. The M.C. was Glorie Watson. The obituary was by John Taylor. There were two solos: one by Charline Dawson and one by Bob Hudson.

      At the time of his death, David Barksdale was survived by his wife (Yvonne "Cookie" Barksdale), three children: David Junior (then age 4), and twins Melinda and Ronald (then aged 17 months); thirteen brothers and sisters and a great many relatives and friends.

            The wife of David Barksdale died on Saturday, June 24, 1978. Yvonne Barksdale was born on December 17, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents were James and Rose Yarber. Yvonne attended Kershaw Elementary School and Englewood High School. She married David Barksdale and they had three children: David Jr., Melinda, and Ronnie. At the time of her death she was engaged to be married to Lee Faulker and they were parents of a son, Derrick (three months old). Yvonne was survived by her mother, fiancee, four children, four brothers, and many friends and relatives. She is buried at the Archerwood Cemetery. The funeral was held at the Stonecrest Funeral Home, 2122 West 79th Street, Chicago.


            If someone were to read the "rap sheet" of David Barksdale they would have no idea this was someone as powerful as he was, or as "notorious" as he is made out to be, as a historical figure in the world of Chicago gangs. We are reviewing the Chicago Police Department rap sheet here.

      The rap sheet of King David never once lists his full and correct name (i.e., Donise David Barksdale). This is not uncommon. Arrestees often may give names other than their own is the reason. So the official rap sheet maintained by the Chicago Police Department (I.R. #101573) is for "David Jones". But it is really David Barksdale.

            There are no felony convictions in this rap sheet. There are a number of what might be considered "minor offenses", and typical gang member offenses (disorderly conduct, mob action, etc). It does help, however, to provide a glimpse into the developmental lifespan of this legendary gang figure.

            The rap sheet begins with the arrest of David Jones, 5 May 65, for Criminal Trespass to Vehicle (dismissed by Judge Comerford). On 13 July 65 the arrest is for "resisting", and again 28 July 65 "Resist. & Disorderly G.B.". The case also went to Judge Comerford.

            * The first twist on the real name begins on 2 December 65, "David L. Barksdale" with investigation for aggravated battery.

            * The next alias (Davis Jones) comes on 31 Dec 66 for Strong Arm robbery. His gives a home address of 8407 S. Morgan.

            *Arrested as Davis L. Barksdale 14 Feb 67 for investigation of Burglary, released without charge, and listed as living at 522 W. 64th St.

            * Arrested then again on 26 April 67 as Donise Barksdale for assault and resisting, it was non-suited. Address given: 6452 S. Union.

            * An entry on 10 Aug 67 for David L. Barksdale (6452 S. Union) indicates "Appl. Chicago Urban Oppt.", which presumably means an anti-gang program or gang-treatment program.

            * David Barksdale was arrested on 13 Sept 67 for possession of marijuana, but it was a case dismissed by Judge Wendt.

            * George Walker was an alias used in the arrest on 13 Oct 67 for disorderly conduct; but again the charge was non-suited (Judge Wendt again).

            * David L. Barksdale on 1 Feb 68 was arrested for resisting and disorderly conduct (Xparte $25, Judge Cerda).

            * On 7 April 68 David Barksdale was arrested for curfew, but again the case was dismissed (Judge Lee).

            * On 28 May 68 David L. Barksdale was arrested for aggravated assault, battery and criminal damage to property, but also dismissed (Judge Cerda).

            * On 8 June 68 David Barksdale was arrested for disorderly conduct (Xparte $25 & NC, Judge Zelezinski).

             * David D. Barksdale arrested 27 June 68 for mob action. Again on 3 July 68 for Agg. battery.

            * Arrested 24 July 68 for warrants on the two prior arrests, receives 6 months in the "House of Corrections" (i.e., today known as Cook County Jail) by Judge Zelezinski.

            * On 3 August 68 charged with criminal damage to property, but on 3 Nov 68 it is dismissed (Judge Zelezinski). Similarly, 4 August 68 charged with resisting arrest and disorderly, again dismissed (Judge Zelezinski).

            * Arrested 7 Mar 69 for a battery warrant, dismissed (Judge Zelezinski). On 4 Sept 69 again for "mob action", again dismissed (S.O.L., Judge Genesen). Arrested 14 August 69 for unlawful use of weapon, and defacing I.D., dismissed (Judge Mooney).

            * Arrested 15 January 70 for intimidation, dismissed (S.O.L., Judge Hechinger).

            * David Lee Barksdale arrested for resisting arrest on 7 May 70, discharged on 10 Mar 71 (Judge Genesen). Arrested 4 Sept 70 for mob action, held to the grand jury (Judge Dunne). He is indicted for Mob Action by the Grand Jury. Verdict: not guilty (Judge Aspen).

            * On 9 Jan 71 arrested for defacing firearms and discharging a weapon, gets 6 months in the county jail (Judge Dunne).

            * Next record entry is 12 Jan 71, for traffic court. Arrested 26 January 71 for armed robbery conspiracy, dismissed by Judge Murphy. A 21 June 71 entry for traffic court. A blank entry for 11 July 1972 in the 6th district (CB No. 3586047).

            * On 18 Jan 74 John David Barksdale arrested for gambling (dice), dismissed by Judge Neal.

            * Last entry, 13 Feb 74 for possession of marijuana and fictitious license plates (3 days in jail, and $100 fine, Judge Murphy).

          That is the full rap sheet of King David. It shows he met a lot of Cook County judges. It shows he got to see Cook County Jail a couple times. It shows he may not have given his full and correct name when repeatedly arrested. But it does not show convictions for murder, drug pushing, or literally any felony crime.

          Three major African-American gangs today pay some tribute to this gang leader: the BD's first and foremost still regard him as their true king; the GD's who acknowledge his historical influence; and the BGs who arose out of his death, splintering away as a separate faction from the BGDs.


             Answer: the BD gang has simply twisted the elements of enhancing salesmanship skills of youthful members not too dissimilar from the way a Junior Achievement group would also raise money collectively. The BD gang offers young members a chance to have some "pocket money" from selling drugs for the gang. It offers kids a way to have a "good time" with adults in their community: the adult gang leaders. It has parties, out of state picnics, and provides an assortment of "thrill seeking" opportunities.

      A casual review of the internal written documents of the BDs suggests much of this "gang literature" is aimed at children. The gang becomes their "religion". The local gang leader who hands out the drugs to be sold becomes their "minister". The top banana of the gang leaders becomes the equivalent of a God-like figure that members are expected to be willing to kill or die for. The young members of the gang regularly engage in "prayer" with fellow members: but the kind of prayer we are talking about here is an abomination. Clearly, these materials show the kind of cult-like "hold" that this gang is capable of having on its young members, once they do join.

            The fact is the BD's like other gangs often do not have to spend an ounce of effort in "recruitment" per se. Kids will come to them.


            The BD's are similar to other gangs in being an organization that provides some "benefits" to those who are arrested or end up in jail. This is common for most gangs like the BD's that qualify as being a formal organization. Explained one informant "they will send members money for cosmetics, books, cigarettes in jail; but if you are not true to the gang, don't hold your hand out because you've got nothing coming".


            Given the nature of the organization and that it is unable to keep many older members, and therefore operates much like a business franchise: where any leader in good standing can have his own "plantation", the level of threat here is not as high as a more centralized corporate structure. The BDs profile more for migration-franchising: opening up new operations in new geographical areas (i.e., Milwaukee). They do not control sections where they do not live. The top gang leadership is able to make a good living off of this type of youth slavery and except in the case of Yummy, has been able to avoid "heat" from the media or community. It minimizes its risks, and maximizes its gains to the older adult leadership structure. It could persist for decades, being careful not to draw much attention, not engaging in politics, and sticking to its criminal mission: drug profits for the adult leaders from the "nation work" of its underage juvenile members who are lured into this kind of oppression.

             So, the threat level is medium from a crime perspective, because all a community needs to do to challenge and undermine this kind of gang is directly confront it and its leaders and its "teachings". The threat level is not high because this kind of gang does not profile as one capable of acts of domestic terrorism, unless a hostile foreign national group were to approach the adult leaders. Something as simple as a civil RICO action, or a wrongful death 3rd party law suit against adult leaders of the BDs would be sufficient to put a good dent in this kind of gang. On the other hand it may take a new type of "radio free inner city" to get the message across that this type of gang is more than a gang: it is a new kind of slavery cult run by adult criminals. The slaves are the children of the community who get sucked into the gang and its weird belief system.

            However, since the GD prosecution we have noted a number of "flippers": GD's joining the BD's. So if the BD's are able to capture a lot of GD members, it is possible the BD threat rating could increase in the coming years. The BD's and the BG's are the most likely to benefit from alienated members of the GD's trying to find a better gang.

            Still, for the present the threat rating for the BDs must be regarded as medium for a variety of reasons explored in this profile. One "ex" BD expressed it best: "the BDs are not that deep, they are real shallow, their king is not an entrepreneur, he is more or less a dictator".


            Figures 1 through 9 provide examples of the internal written documents of the Black Disciples (BDs). Each of these will be briefly explained here.

      Figure 1 is the basic prayer of the BDs. Here Donise David Barksdale is truly in direct competition with every local church in Chicago for known spiritual leaders. Note that "God" does appear in this prayer. But King David Barksdale is the one regarded as the true prophet for these believers. This is not a guy who has fought bravely in battle, this is not a guy who has saved anyone’s life, this is not even a guy who has a good reputation for anything that would be a “positive contribution to the community”: but he remains an example of ancestor worship within this particular gang. This phenomenon of “deification” of the gang leader is common in gangs like the BD’s that have been around for decades and are now span several generations within their respective communities.

            Another prayer, provided in Figure 2, is interesting as a historical reference, for it acknowledges the original BGD six point star meanings currently still used by the GDs: Love, Life, Loyalty, Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding. In a later document we will see that "unity" becomes a new organizing principle.

            Figure 3 provides the first set of "rules" or "laws" that BD members must abide by. Rule #6 becomes definitive: "I will accept no other teachings than that of our KING or that which refers to the Nation". Clearly, this rule establishes an ideological press upon members that whatever type of religious training or socialization they may have had, what they now must believe and act upon are the "creeds" of their gang. Rule # 8 continues in this theme, to the effect of almost inoculating BD members against any outside religious influence.

            They truly are "devil's disciples": a cult-like group with blasphemous dogma at the heart of its belief system that is enforced by violence and the threat of violence against its believers. Note the "top down" vertical authoritarian structure implied by rule # 10: "I will abide by all commands given to me by the KING and all appointed chiefs". Clearly, there is little room for individual thinking or even an ability to resist this coercive compliance structure when the older adult leaders ask a younger member of the gang like "Yummy" to perform an act or behavior that pleases the central leadership. Note also the rule #16 about the clenched fist "salute", the warrior sign for ritually greeting other BD members.

      Figure 4 is the second part of the rules or laws of the BD gang. In some versions of this internal written document of the gang, the word "soldier" has been translated to "member". "Soldier" was the original version. This is interesting as a psychological mechanism, for the first part of the rules (Figure 3) may not seem too bad for a potential new recruit to the BD gang being "courted" or lured into the gang. However, once initiated the member will find out there is another set of rules: those in Figure 4. The rules in Figure 4 are centered around protecting the gang leaders from criminal prosecution. This second set of rules requires "silence" on the criminal drug operations of the gang or any other nation business, and specifically lays out rules about exposing the gang leaders to unnecessary risk.

      We interviewed a retired member of the BD's who knew King Shorty personally. He was now in a drug program, in his late 30's, and had spent about 15 years in the BD's. The highest rank he achieved was that of a chief of violations, a kind of temporary rank that is more service than power. This informant indicated these rules are taken literally by the members. Even the rule about prostitution: "if you get caught with a sister of the gang ho'ing, that is going to bring you some punishment, you cannot use your sisters like that in the BD's".

      The same informant described the importance of rule # 7 on protecting or shielding the "Crowned King", King Shorty:

"if we pull up on the set, and the King was in a building up stairs, you cannot tell anyone the King is there in an apartment. When we go to a funeral, there will be a lot of guys just surrounding the King, so many that you will not see him". He went on to describe a funeral in 1984 where 6 or 7 hundred members attended.

      Figure 5 is internal propaganda designed to enhance the social solidarity of members and give them their unique gang identity and belief system. Thus, Figure 5 gives literal meaning to the gang symbols used by the BDs. A photograph of the actual layout of a BD "banner" using all of these symbols is provided (Photograph #1) for reference purposes. This banner and a host of other artifacts used by the gang are a part of the National Gang Cultural Artifact Exhibit which includes such materials from a large number of major gangs in the USA that is maintained by the NGCRC for training purposes.

       Figure 6 is an introductory lesson for BD members: basic essential items of indoctrination they must commit to memory.

      Figure 7 is another brainwashing component in the BD curriculum of youth socialization. Note that here we see "unity" added as one of the principles of the six pointed star, while the original BGD item of "wisdom" disappears from the map. No one in this organization in their right mind would challenge the fact that earlier documents include "wisdom" but apparently this item is lost in more updated documents: to question this obvious inconsistency would be tantamount to treason against the BD leaders. Clearly, a typical BD member with any ability to discern such factors would obviously also have to develop a strong sense of being able to survive in a situation of ambiguity and dissonance.

      Figure 8 begins to show us how in the pseudo-biblical language used by the gang leaders to make demands on BD gang members, that this is truly a criminal cult organization, where the continuity of the gang is predicated on its ability to underage juvenile manipulate members along a spiritual dimension that allows the members to engage in moral neutralization (i.e., an adult sponsored justification for their criminal behavior). Note the language of "thou shall" in these "commandments". Here young children with unknown levels of religious training are getting new "homework": things they really must study or they will be physically punished by their own gang and they will not dare report it to anyone outside of the gang.

             This new "homework" makes the gang leader the new GOD, and some gang henchman who wrote the material the real "Moses" imparting the 10 commandments.

            This is more than a "put on", young children like "Yummy" are routinely being killed over this kind of new modern gang-criminal-cult style organization. It should be patently obvious to us all that the last person to probably ever see this kind of material is the local church or religious institution and its legitimate spiritual leaders in the same community!

            Religious leaders in America who have worked with gangs to sponsor their events, activities, and public relations functions are going to have to come to grips with this kind of evidence. This kind of gang is not going to be coopted.

     Finally, Figure 9 provides the equivalent of a daily scripture or a daily prayer to reinforce the identity and commitment to the adult driven criminal gang leader. Whatever the gang leader "says" is what "goes". We see in none of these internal documents anything that spells out in great detail what the "teachings" are of the "crowned" King Shorty. Apparently his will is the gospel.

      Churches in inner city areas like those affected by the presence of gang organizations like the BDs need no longer speculate about why they are having difficulty attracting younger persons to worship in their religious institutions. The message should be very clear from this gang profile that gangs like the BDs have been competing for years with churches for the control of the "minds, bodies, and souls" of inner city children.


            In 1998 a number of BD leaders were arrested for federal charges. Some of them, like Robert Allen Jr. and Charles Jackson, agreed to cooperate with federal authorities. This is a standard "trade-off": those who snitch usually get lighter sentences.

            Thus, in 1999, some 21 members of the BD gang were indicted for federal drug charges in Chicago. The federal authorities were able to get a large number of indictments due to the prominent help from informants within the leadership of the BD gang.

            BD leader Robert Allen made statements against 16 of the 21 BDs indicted in 1999. Allen did get a 20 year sentence, but he was facing life in federal prison, like many of his colleagues he testified against (See: Cam Simpson, "21 in Black Disciples Named in Drug Charges", Chicago Sun-Times, Dec. 9, 1999, p. 18).


            In the spring of 2004 another massive federal prosecution was launched against leaders of the Black Disciples: Marvel Thompson and 41 other BD’s in the upper management of the gang were indicted.. This was designed to disrupt a $500,000 per day drug selling operation run by the BD’s. This new prosecution effort focused also on some of the business enterprises used as “money laundering” facilities for the gang: a gangster rap music studio, a construction company, rental properties, etc. During raids in at the time of unveiling the indictments, police officers discovered “sensitive police information” in an envelope in the custody of one of the gang’s leaders, and a followup showed that it came from the local elected alderman: Aranda Troutman. Alderman Troutman told federal investigators she thought the gang leaders were just “businessmen”, although others in the community noted that she was very close to the gang leaders. One of the leaders of the BD gang had received a license as a security guard. A police officer who worked for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department at the time of this writing is also being investigated to determine if he was the one who was running car license plates for the gang.


            There are two known historical truths about the persistence and continuity of criminal gangs that have so much support they can be likened to social laws. The first is based on systems theory, the idea that a gang without new members to do its "work" is a gang that will die off and fade away, a gang needs a steady supply of new young recruits to stay in business. The second is based on risk/benefit analysis: a gang cannot exist in a community without providing some benefit to the same community, so once the reciprocal benefits are terminated, and there is no benefit to the gang, the gang will disappear. Both help to clarify "what should be done" about gangs like the BDs.

            First, our society needs additional laws protecting the rights of juveniles, both civil and criminal penalties need to be attached to the conduct of adult gang leaders who use children to do their dirty work. Increasing the penalties for using juveniles in adult-run gangs, and doing everything else possible to cut off the flow of new recruits into a gang, will do much to destabilize any gang anywhere in systems theory.

            Secondly, the risk-benefit equation currently favors adult gang leaders: they face little risk and almost no sanctions for using juveniles to do their dirty work (selling drugs, committing acts of violence against opposing gangs, etc). We as a society need to increase the "costs" to the adult gang leaders in this known national pattern of the criminal exploitation of children. We need to also eliminate any social benefits the gang claims to provide a community: involvement in voter registration, involvement in publicly funded services, anything that appears to give the gang "legitimacy" erodes the power of the community to fight back against the gangs. Some leaders in Chicago and elsewhere still have not figured this out.

            Third, educating clergy, civic leaders, and parents about gang profiles like the BDs may help them recognize that the gang is not a benefit to the community, nor is it a benign social force that can be "turned into good": it is, plain and simple, a criminal organization. What we have in America today is a legal lag: gangs have continued over time, outpacing the ability of American policy makers to pass legislation to control their operations. In otherwords, due to the inaction of policy makers, modern American gangs like the BDs continue with "business as usual" and are able to flagrantly manipulate the system to their own benefit.


Figure 1


Let us open up this prayer with a lot of love to KING of all Kings, KING DAVID, our crowned KING, KING SHORTY, and all righteous Black Disciples of the world. . .

We are stronger together, we are stronger together, my love and yours forever. We are as ONE.

King David said that is must be done! God put the stars in the sky, and with the reflection they shine.

Yes said King David, we must combine, Body, Souls, and Minds, with the D's Love for now and all times.


Figure 2



Once the D's thang was just an idea until KING DAVID said it's time to bring it here. Just like everything else it had to begin, but the BLACK DISCIPLE NATION will never end.

Love, Life, and Loyalty will get it all started but without WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, and UNDERSTANDING it will soon be departed.

The SIX POINTED STAR will connect them all together, since it is the STAR OF KING DAVID that will make it all last forever.

Being able to use 360 degrees of pure knowledge in any situation means nothing is impossible for the BLACK DISCIPLE NATION.

By using the knowledge of the SIX POINTED STAR means we can better our situation no matter where we are, whether behind these walls, out there on the streets doing our own thang the BLACK DISCIPLE NATION shall remain the same. Let us give thanks. I AM WHAT I AM, A BLACK DISCIPLE, AND THAT I AIN'T I WILL NEVER BE * * * * * *

We are going to close this prayer with a lot of love to KING of all Kings, KING DAVID, our CROWNED KING, KING SHORTY, AND ALL RIGHTEOUS BLACK DISCIPLES OF THE WORLD.


Figure 3




1. I solemnly swear to never disrespect the KING or "any" member of the Black Disciple Nation.

2. I will not tolerate anyone scandalizing the name of the Black Disciple Nation.

3. I will sacrifice my life for the Nation's causes.

4. I will Love, Respect, and Honor every member of the nation as I so love, respect, and honor myself.

5. I will be of any assistance to any member of the Nation in any problems or difficulties that he have, be it physically or mentally.

6. I will accept no other teachings than that of our KING or that which refers to the Nation.

7. I will not tolerate anyone, even a Black Disciple to misrepresent or disrespect our appraisal emblem or flag.

8. I pledge my soul, heart, love and spirit to the Black Disciple nation and will be a part of it even in death.

9. I will not affiliate myself with our opposition.

10. I will abide by all commands given to me by the KING and all appointed chiefs.

11. I will not tolerate the criticizing or abusive sayings of those who are not Black Disciple.

12. I will not tolerate anyone criticizing the KING or any righteous member of the Black Disciple Nation.

13. I will ask and accept the same penalty that any Black Disciple is given for my transgression against the Nation's Laws.

14. I will not fight or mistreat any Nation member unless told to do so otherwise.

15. I will not fight against any member of the Black Disciple Nation and will not stand to see any member of the Black Disciple Nation fight among themselves.

16. I will greet and salute any member of the Black Disciple Nation with the crossing of the CLENCHED FIST, the warriors sign whenever and where ever I see any Black Disciple.


Figure 4



1. All soldiers must share and respect a code of silence, loyalty to friends inside the nation, also becomes a part of that code and the two (silence and loyalty) join to establish the soldiers as insiders and everyone else as outsiders.

2. Family disrespect cannot and will not be tolerated either toward each other or family members of his fellow soldiers.

3. No soldier shall encourage the use of drugs to any soldier or family members of his fellow soldiers.

4. No soldier shall consume any addictive drugs.

5. No soldier shall encourage prostitution from the women in their families or families of fellow soldiers.

6. No soldier shall point out, refer or introduce any fellow member to an outsider without first screening and checking into the background of that outside person.

7. At no time shall a soldier shall point out, refer, or introduce any outsider to the "King", or any of the places the "King" might be without permission from the proper chain of Command.

8. No soldier shall bring inside the nation new members without a screening and a observation period and the approval of an evaluation report by the top of the chain of command.

9. All soldiers regardless of rank or position must strive to help each other and not to compete with each other.


Figure 5




1. The HEART represents the LOVE we have for our Nation.

2. The CROWN represents our Nation's Crowned King, KING SHORTY.

3. The SIX POINTED STAR of KING DAVID represents what our Nation is based on.

4. The SWORD represents Life and Death in our Nation, Life and the survival of the Nation at all cost. But Death before Dishonor.

5. The DEVIL'S PITCHFORKS represents our Nation's powers and our struggle to overcome the oppression we are under.

6. The HORNS represents our Nation's determination to overcome all obstacles.

7. The DEVIL'S TAIL represents the oppression that Blacks, Latinos, and Third World people live under and is not a white issue.

8. The FLAME represents our Nation's eternal philosophy of Self-Help.

9. The Insignia "78" represents the year of our Nation's New Day of Teachings and Inspiration.


Figure 6


The STAR OF KING DAVID is our Nation's symbol. It has six points, and each point of the star stands for: LOVE, LIVE, LOYALTY, UNITY, KNOWLEDGE, and UNDERSTANDING.

The Disciple's colors are: RED, BLACK, and BLUE. Red is for the bloodshed of our Nation. Black stands for all black people. Blue is for the heavenly sky which blesses all Disciples. True blue also represents the love we share, which is as deep as the deep blue sea.


Figure 7


1. LOVE: Love of the Nation is greater than mere love alone, because we have a brotherhood in which love is as deep as the deep blue sea. TRUE BLUE LOVE.

2. LIFE: Life commitment to the Nation for the betterment of ourselves as well as the Nation and each committed brother within the Nation, and our Nation's teachings, laws, creeds, symbols, philosophy and defense.

3. LOYALTY: To yourself, and each committed brother of our Nation.

4. UNITY: Collectively embraces all concepts, ideas, and actions that apply to our Nation. Togetherness is essential in order for us to continue our survival.

5. KNOWLEDGE: Is insight, therefore it is priceless, it gives one the ability to apply rational judgement. Knowledge is the ability to have a conscious awareness, and knowledge gained and not passed along is wasted knowledge.

6. UNDERSTANDING: Shows that we are able to communicate effectively, bringing about agreements, and a positive state of mind.

"Repeat these six points (PRINCIPLES) until they are fully understood, because they apply to you (ALL) as BLACK DISCIPLES. KING SHORTY IS KING! AND LONG LIVE THE KING.



Figure 8



1. Thou shall love the nation with all thy heart, soul and spirit.

2. Thou shall teach the warriors of thy nation diligently and shall talk with, advise them, and in the event that some go astray, thou shall be there to understand and restore in them the determination of a true Disciple.

3. Thou shall bind them together in UNITY and LOVE, and they shall be as true as one that will never be divided.

4. Thou shall make it known in the streets, jails and penitentiaries that this Black Disciple Nation is indestructible.

5. It shall be that when we have fully accepted the teachings of our deceased KING DAVID and our CROWNED KING, KING SHORTY, then and only then shall we acquire the riches that is rightfully ours as Disciples in the armor of blue.

6. For the nation is full of good things that thou has brought us into, therefore, we can never fail but shall prosper at all cost.

7. Beware lest we forget the teachings of the King that brought us into awareness of this Black Disciple Nation.

8. Thou shall feel the warmth of this Black Disciple Nation and serve the King and swear by the power of his name which he has invested in the Nation.

9. You shall not seek the safety of other nations around you, but hold steadfast to the teachings of the Black Disciple Nation.

10. For the King is a jealous King, he loves his people, and unless we return this love as it is freely given, we shall anger the King, and thus bring forth upon ourselves the wrath of the Black Disciple Nation.


Figure 9




1. As a true Disciple I am a follower of thy Crowned King, KING SHORTY, and a student in the teachings of our nation's Founder and King of all Kings, KING DAVID.

2. I shall strive and succeed in showing myself to be disciplined in my actions, and thoughts, reflecting to the fullest of my ability and potential the SIX PRINCIPLES WITHIN THE STAR OF DAVID.

3. I shall seek to be mindful of the TEN COMMANDMENTS of our nation and the UNIVERSAL CODES OF LAW.

4. I shall do whatever is possible, or whatever is asked, and required of me to support the leadership of our organization.

5. I shall especially be conscious of my environment, its elements and dangers therein, and shall secure myself and each righteous member of our organization from the dangers and pitfalls before us.


            I vow this day to shine . . .