Black Guerrilla Family
Black Guerrilla Family logo
Founded1966; 58 years ago (1966)[1]
FounderGeorge Jackson[2]
Founding locationSan Quentin State Prison, California, United States[2]
Years active1966–present
TerritoryCalifornia and Maryland[1]
EthnicityAfrican American[1]
Membership (est.)100–300 members[1][3]
Thousands of associates[3]
ActivitiesDrug trafficking, burglary and homicide[1]
Black Disciples[2]
Dead Man Incorporated[4]
El Rukn[2]
KUMI 415[5]
Nuestra Familia[2]
Black Liberation Army[2]
Symbionese Liberation Army[2]
Weather Underground[2]
RivalsAryan Brotherhood[2]
Aryan Brotherhood of Texas[2]
Mexican Mafia[2]
Texas Syndicate[2]

The Black Guerrilla Family (BGF, also known as the Black Gorilla Family,[6][7] the Black Family,[8] the Black Vanguard,[9] and Jamaa[8]) is an African American black power prison gang, street gang, and political organization founded in 1966 by George Jackson, George "Big Jake" Lewis, and W.L. Nolen while they were incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California.[10]

Philosophy and goals

The Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) was founded by George Jackson in San Quentin State Prison during the Black Power movement.[11] Inspired by Marcus Garvey, the BGF characterizes itself as an ideological African-American Marxist–Leninist[12] revolutionary organization composed of prisoners. It was founded with the stated goals of promoting black power, maintaining dignity in prison, and overthrowing the United States government. The BGF's ideological and economic aims, collectively known as "Jamaanomics", are laid out in the group's Black Book.[13][8] The group has been described as one of the most politically oriented prison gangs.[14] Contemporarily, the group primarily engages in criminal activity with rival gangs rather than political activity.


Fay Stender attempted murder

In 1979, former BGF lawyer Fay Stender was shot five times by recently paroled Black Guerrilla Family member Edward Glenn Brooks for Stender's alleged betrayal of George Jackson. Brooks forced Stender to state: "I, Fay Stender, admit I betrayed George Jackson and the prison movement when they needed me most" just before he shot her.[15] Stender was left paralyzed below the waist by the assault and in constant pain. She committed suicide in Hong Kong shortly after she testified against Brooks.[16] Brooks was sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment for Stender's attempted murder in 1980.[17]

Huey P. Newton murder

On August 22, 1989, co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Huey P. Newton was fatally shot outside 1456 9th St. in West Oakland by 25-year-old Black Guerrilla Family member Tyrone Robinson.[18] Relations between Newton and factions within the Black Guerrilla Family had been strained for nearly two decades. Many former Black Panthers who became BGF members in jail were disenchanted with Newton for his perceived abandonment of imprisoned Black Panther Party members. In his book, Shadow of the Panther, Hugh Pearson alleges that Newton was addicted to crack cocaine, and his extortion of local BGF drug dealers to obtain free drugs added to their animosity.[19]

Robinson was convicted of the murder in August 1991 and sentenced to 32 years for the crime.[20]

Baltimore unrest

Main article: 2015 Baltimore protests

In 2015, Baltimore police stated that the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods, and the Crips were "teaming up" to target police officers.[21] Later, however, leaders of both the Bloods and the Crips denied the allegations,[22] released a video statement asking for calm and peaceful protest in the area,[23] and joined with police and clergy to enforce the curfew.[24] At one occasion, gang members helped to prevent a riot at the Security Square Mall by dispersing attempted rioters.[25] On other occasions, rival gang members helped each other to protect black-owned businesses, black children, and reporters, diverting rioters to Chinese- and Arab-owned businesses instead.[26]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Prison Gangs (May 11, 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Florida Department of Corrections. "Prison Gangs (continued) - Gangs and Security Threat Group Awareness". Florida Department of Corrections. Archived from the original on 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  3. ^ a b "America's 11 Most Powerful Prison Gangs". Business Insider. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  4. ^ Velazquez, Rose (January 2, 2019). "Maryland prison gangs: Who are they". Delmarva Now. The Daily Times. Archived from the original on December 11, 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  5. ^ Organized Crime in California Annual Report 2007-08 Attorney General of California (2008)
  6. ^ "Gov. Hogan Announces Closing Of Baltimore City Men's Detention Center". WBAL-TV. July 30, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  7. ^ "Mayor Discusses Spike In Crime, Safe Streets Program, And Artscape". WBAL-TV. July 16, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c Contributed by: Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun. "The Black Book — Black Guerilla Family (Maryland) Handbook". Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  9. ^ "The Black Guerrilla Family". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  10. ^ Ouagadougou, Mbutu A. (May 12, 2022). The Black Guerrilla Family 1966 – 1971: The Violent History of California's Most Notorious Prison Gang. Plebiscite Publishing Company. p. 103. ISBN 979-8808864979.
  11. ^ Friedman, Brittany (August 21, 2020). "Black Radical Prisoner Organizing Didn't Die with George Jackson".
  12. ^ Cummins, Eric (1994). The Rise and Fall of California's Radical Prison Movement. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804722322.
  13. ^ Smith, Van (May 27, 2009). "The Black Book". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  14. ^ Hickey, Eric (2003), "The Black Guerrilla Family", Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., p. 65, retrieved 2023-04-02
  15. ^ Russell, Diana (Spring 1991). "Fay Stender and the Politics of Murder". On The Issues Magazine.
  16. ^ Horowitz, David; Collier, Peter (1981). "Requiem for a Radical". New West.
  17. ^ "Brooks Sentenced To 17 Years On Attempted Murder Count". Santa Cruz Sentinel. February 22, 1980. Retrieved December 28, 2023.
  18. ^ "Suspect Admits Shooting Newton, Police Say". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 27, 1989. Retrieved May 8, 2013. The police said late Friday that an admitted drug dealer had acknowledged killing Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party
  19. ^ Hugh Pearson, Shadow of the Panther. p. 6
  20. ^ Los Angeles Times, 10-10-91, pA22; 12-5-91, pA19.
  21. ^ "Baltimore police say gangs 'teaming up' to take out officers". The Baltimore Sun. April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2015.[dead link]
  22. ^ Porter, Tom (April 28, 2015). "Bloods and Crips gangs reject claims of kill-a-cop pact". International Business Times. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  23. ^ "Gangs call for calm in Baltimore". The Baltimore Sun. April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.[dead link]
  24. ^ Berman, John; Castillo, Mariano (April 28, 2015). "Baltimore gangs will help enforce curfew". CNN. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  25. ^ Haake, Garrett W (April 28, 2015). "Gang members help prevent riot at Baltimore mall". WUSA. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  26. ^ Nixon, Ron (April 27, 2015). "Amid Violence, Factions and Messages Converge in a Weary and Unsettled Baltimore". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  27. ^ a b "Black Guerilla Family Prison Tattoo". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-11-25. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)