Street gangs of the 70s were all not that bad. Most gangs tried to do positive things in the ghetto like clean up the neighborhood at some time even protect the neighborhood. The Reapers was a gang my oldest brother use to belong to, I remember when I was a kid, I would wear those same gang colors in the picture, when my brother Jose wasn’t home. I look in the mirror and try to act tough. I eventually joined several gangs myself. In the ghetto being part of a gang meant being part of something. Our streets were full of negative morals like drugs dealing, number running, and violence. When you saw a drug dealer he would have nice clothes, and a nice car, and the best looking ladies so you wanted to be him. There was no fear because you were growing up around it. My brother Jose tried very hard to keep me out of gangs but couldn’t because I would just hide from him. There were also political groups like the Black Panthers and Young Lords groups that tried to teach us the truth about life and show us that we were more slaves, than Americans, that the US used drugs to oppress us, something I believe, because selling drugs in the neighborhood was like owning a store the cops never bothered us much. They would be 5-7 drug dealers selling pot in front of the park and no one would get busted, every now and than they would arrest someone, but they would be out for dinner. There was a time when the Savage skulls were getting political, and was asking for the Independence of Puerto Rico. However when ever we ghetto people started getting smart more drugs would pile in our neighborhoods. In the hood the great American dream comes through crime. There were several that would try to do it the correct way, but a larger percentage of people always went the fast and easy way selling drugs or committing crimes. I am not trying to blame the US Government or local Government for our down falls, but heroin, cocaine, marijuana; Etc didn’t grow in the city of New York. When I was 14 years old I was able to buy cigarettes and alcohol, without an ID. We drove in cars waving quarts of beer and would seldom get pulled over as long as you stood in the hood the police did not care. They felt they just needed to guard the perimeter around us. Let them kill themselves is what they wanted. When the rich little white kids from Long island and upstate NY starting coming into Harlem and the Bronx to by drugs all of a sudden they are saying in Washington I think we have a drug problem? It took up to the late 80s early 90s for them to start doing something about the streets. There were no more political groups by than no more gangs just drug lord and drive by shootings and violent gangs like the ones you have out there now. People living like prisoners in their buildings. It’s to show you that the ghetto had lots of positive people trying to make a difference, but it was the corrupt politicians who were the real drug dealers we were just prisoners in our own neighborhood.
Have a nice Day :0)
My book “Soap that doesn’t clean” will be out in 2013
The pictures are from Time and Life Magazine.