Larry Hoover Biography

Larry Hoover is the founder and longtime leader of the Gangster Disciples, a street gang out of northern Illinois and Indiana. Hoover was born in Mississippi but grew up in Chicago, where he became the teen leader of a street gang in the mid-1960s. He was sent to prison in 1974 for murder (and has been in prison ever since), but a life sentence didn't stop him from becoming the prime mover behind the Black Gangster Disciple Nation, later called the Gangster Disciples -- the GDs. While incarcerated, "King Hoover" ran the gang's illicit drug trade in prison and on the streets, starting from Chicago's West Side and later extending throughout the United States. By the early '90s Hoover claimed to have renounced his violent criminal past and became an urban political celebrity in Chicago, and the GDs earned fans in the community with charity events and peaceful protests. He proclaimed that GD now meant "Growth & Development." A lengthy federal investigation using wiretaps led to Hoover getting another life sentence in 1995. Hoover's gang allegedly has had 30,000 "soldiers" in 35 states and made $100 million a year (though as with all underground criminal enterprises, it's hard to say). Now in prison in Colorado, Hoover is an old-school hero of the gangster community. His fans say he's a victim of political forces, guilty only of being black and in the wrong business.

Extra credit:

Hoover's conversations in prison were recorded by way of transmitters hidden in visitors' badges... The GDs used the Star of David as their gang symbol... A 2006 docudrama, The Larry Hoover Story: The Sanctioned Version, called him "Chicago's biggest gangster since Al Capone."

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