The Black Gangster Disciple Nation was formed on the South-side of Chicago in the late 1960s, by David Barksdale, leader of the Black Disciples, and Larry Hoover, leader of the Supreme Gangsters. The two groups united to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN).
The gang has made several attempts to legitimize their image. Some members dropped the "B" and began to call themselves GDs or Gangster Disciples. In the 1990s the Gangster Disciples entered into politics through the formation of the "Growth and Development" movement. Outside of Chicago some gangs will still go by the old name of BGD.
Gangster Disciples have been documented in the U.S. military, found in both U.S. and overseas bases. Graffiti characteristic of the Gangster Disciples has been reportedly seen in U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Symbols, signs and emblemsLike most major gangs, Gangster Disciples use a well-defined system of symbols to communicate alliances and rivalries. This system is a combination of symbols that represent the Gangster Disciple Nation or the Folk Nation as a whole and symbols that rivals use to represent their organization, typically inverted to show disrespect.
Gangster Disciple symbology
Colors/apparelGangster Disciples represent with the colors blue black and white. There are indications that in some very rare and unusual cases, some GD members will adopt what some gang experts and historians refer to as "outlaw" or taboo doctrine, and wear the otherwise-rival Vice lord color (red) which in a majority of other cases, would again, be counter to the blue, black, grey, silver and white colors normally associated with GD.[Full citation needed][page needed] Gangster Disciples are known to wear Georgetown Hoyas clothing.
Six pointed starThe major symbol Gangster Disciples make use of is the six-pointed star (identical in appearance to the Star of David) The fact that this star is known as the Star of David pays homage to co-founder David Barksdale, and the six points are said to represent Life, Love, Loyalty, Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding. Despite there being no ostensible references to the country of Israel or Jewish religion in most open source literature on the subject of Gangster Disciples, some rival Vice lord members will at times refer to someone suspected of being an organizational infiltrator, mole, spy, supporter, or sympathizer, working as an undercover affiliate on behalf of Gangster Disciple, as being "Jewish." There have been other indications clearly suggesting that many GD members internally have aligned themselves with pseudo-Judaism principles just as rival Vice Lords have aligned themselves with pseudo-Islamic principles which is even further evidenced by the Vice Lord Oath in which Vice lord members swear allegiance to Allah.
The pitchforkThe second most well known symbol of the Gangster Disciples is the three pointed pitch fork, which is also the basis of their representative hand-sign. A pair of pitchforks may be seen in GD graffiti crossed behind a six pointed star, with the tines of the fork always placed in a vertical position. Since two forks with three tines each make a total of six, this again makes reference to the six-pointed star. The number six plays prominently into most GD symbols.
GraffitiGangster Disciple graffiti is also known to contain:
- The M's stand for money mac and murder.
- Heart with wings, each wing having 3 feathers (for a total of 6), typically placed around a six-pointed star. Can be used to represent love for lost members of the organization, or members who are incarcerated.
- Inverted shepherd's cane. The cane is a symbol of the Chicago-based Vice Lords, a powerful faction in the People Nation and a top rival of the Gangster Disciples. The cane can be incorporated into the handle of crossed pitchforks, so that the upward facing half is a fork and the downward pointing half is a cane. This both represents the Gangster Disciple Nation and shows disrespect to the Vice Lords.
- Inverted pyramid. The pyramid is a Peoples Nation symbol, especially for the Black P Stones.
- Inverted cross, with hash marks between the bars. Symbol of the Latin Kings (gang).