Latino Gangs: The Latin Kings

The history of the Latin Kings is one of the untold stories of Chicago’s gangland. Latino gangs have played a major role in the history of both Puerto Rican and Mexican history in Chicago.

The largest Latino gang in Chicago, and perhaps in the United States, are the Latin King and Queen Nation. A Latin King leader explains the history and aims of his organization in an talk for the Chicago Gang History Project. A news story relates the final arrest of ALKQN leader Gino Colon.

The Latin Kings have their roots in the Puerto Rican experience in Chicago. Historian Mervin Mendez explains the origins of the first Puerto Rican gangs in Chicago, and relates the history of one of them, the Young Lords Organization. In this interview, Cha Cha Jimenez discusses the YLP history. A detailed interview with Cha Cha by Ralph Cintron and Erika Rodriguez for the Chicago Gang History Project will be posted soon.

Gentrification has pushed Chicago’s Puerto Rican community and their gangs from Harrison Street on the near west side to Lincoln Park and then to Humboldt Park — which is now undergoing substantial gentrification. Activist Carlos Flores talks about Lincoln Park.

The Latin Kings are also a major force in the barrios of New York. Black & Gold is a documentary film of the polticization and repression of the Latin Kings in New York City in the 1990s. Here is a journalist’s interview with New York Latin King and Queen leaders.


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