Monday, May 12, 2008

The gangs of Flint

There's no doubt you'd be terrified if you saw this gang of toughs coming for you on the mean streets of Flint in 1972.

From left to Right: Gordie Young, offering the same insolent look that caused him so much trouble with the nuns; Marcus Mahan, a Flint cop, last I heard; Charlotte "Becky" Mason, looking very stylish; and Todd, whose last name I can't remember, making the striped-shirt work for him. My dog, Hubie, is in front, most likely scanning the horizon for female dogs. All of us, excluding Hubie, attended Daniel O'Sullivan/St. Mike's at the time.



We're in the well-manicured backyard of my grandparent's house on Illinois Avenue, which is a reminder of how meticulous parts of Flint used to be. You can see a corner of Homedale Elementary in the background.

27 comments:

  1. That garage looks a lot like my grandma's old house.

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  2. Absolutely terrifying.

    Funny you brought up the subject of gangs. I was gonna suggest that as a future subject. I recall a fantastic article in the Urinal circa 1983 that listed dozens of Flint gangs. Just a few days ago I stumbled upon an article about the murder of Donald "Juice" Williams and 5 others by Terry Morris. Now I can't locate it. Anyway, it included a lotta Flint crime tidbits.

    Anyway, here’s my list- 1980s: Top Dawgs, Bad Boys Inc., Smurfs Inc. (no joke, a fairly large gang in the early/mid 80s), Westside Warlords, Westside Rockers, Yellowjackets, Mexican Mafia, Acapony Stonyonys, Southside Boys, Greens (Saginaw).

    1990s: Insane Spanish Cobra Nation, Vice Lords, Pierson Hood, Selby Hood, Merrill Hood, Voltron Posse (again, a small but deadly crew), Aryan Nations gang on the northeast side, ummm I know there are many more but I can't recall right now.

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  3. Crime in the 80s:

    http://www.flintjournal.com/20thcentury/1980/1980crack.html

    I seem to recall brawls at Playland and a melee at the IMA between the Top Dawgs and Greens. An all female gang on the east side?!? Numerous biker gangs. Blue monagramed track suits that read: Smurfs Inc. A gang that wore novelty plastic batting helmets...

    I know this reads like a sequel to "The Warriors" but I swear it was Flint in the 80s.

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    1. I have never laughed so hard in my life at this, playland was a batting turf to the neighborhood called little Missouri, and the all girl gang on the east side was the Chola's .. looking back now, the smurfs. How scary. There was the flinttoids too.

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  4. My old hood. I don't remember any gangs over there in the 60's. I grew up in the 1500 block of Belle. A proud Homedale alumni. I toured it right before it closed.

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  5. Those photographs are precious!!! Was the gang photograph on the first day of school?

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  6. I'm sure it wasn't the first day of school. I think we'd gone on some sort of field trip and my mom drove us. For some reason — perhaps for snacks — we stopped by my grandma's on the way back to school.

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  7. I remember a couple occasions where the Top Dawgs more or less rioted up and down Chevrolet Ave. (between Mackin and Welch Blvd., where I grew up). It was the early 1980s. It was pretty scary to be out in the back yard in my tent and seeing what must have been hundreds of gang members rushing up the street-yelling & throwing things. Same thing happened on the last day of one of Longfellow Middle School's school years. Fortunately, they never really destroyed anything in the neighborhood or harmed any innocent people that I was ever aware of during those occassions.

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  8. Cool, a field trip - was it Mott Farm or the planetarium? Maybe it was Sloan Museum or some place like that.

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  9. Growing up on Bagley Street, just a stone's throw from Ballenger Park, there was a wanna-be gang in the early 80's that called themselves "The Hoods". They were a loose conglomeration of white, high school dropouts that talked openly about committing crimes against non-whites. They'd instigate fights between younger white and black kids and a couple of times, they would try to compel me to fight an old friend of mine from Summerfield, just because he was black.
    The old neighborhood has changed so dramatically since that time. The only thing that hasn't changed is that my grandparents still live there. Whenever I go there to visit, I give long, weary glances at the myriad abandoned houses that dot the old neighborhood, silently recalling the names of old friends who once occupied them.

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  10. Hello Gordy, or do you go by Gordon now?
    Funny Picture of the Flint Gang. This is Charlotte "Becky" Mason from your May 18th picture. I really don't remember wearing that plaid outfit, but I must admit I was rather stylish.

    Wow, so you have your own column and live in San Francisco - how exciting! I was there a few years ago, nice city. I live near Cincinnati, Ohio, if you’ve heard of Kings Island, I live near there. I am a project manager for Procter & Gamble and manage projects for building and office renovations. I am still dancing in my “spare” time and was just in a dance production recently. So basically, I’m trying to stay young. I’m married, and my daughter, is 24, which is unbelievable, even to me!

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  11. I am a flintstone and yes I remem alot of gang in flint "top dogs, smurfs, smurfettes, georgetown boys, pierson hood, project boys, terrece boys and terrece girls, beecher boys , the big pussy wussy crew, Cobras, Fila boys, Adidas crew, And that is to name a few of my time I remember fight after merrill(an elementry school dance), Internantionl skating rink, playland,Genesee Valley it was always something happening there, I remember skip parties in forest park (when it was safe), IMA back to school dance, Berston Feild House Dances in the summer.
    Iremember when selby hood that is another gang the selby hood posse. (over by warrinton & barbra dr.) was running crazy I remeber the summers when ther was a shooting every day by gangs. I remember when the Coba (torn down now) was the hot spot flint has it ups and down like everywhere ele and I believe that the police killed Juice

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    1. Real shit! Flintstone repper here.....dont forget the 6 o's and the D Boys and the project ninjas too.

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    2. Yeah I have a few cousins that were in the D-Boys. Those guys were ruthless and wild. They made a lot of money the wrong way

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  12. Man how I love growing up in the city of FLINT. We moved there in 1976 764 E. Gillespie . If you had the chance to live in FLINT back in the good old days you can live anywhere in the USA . Williams elementary, Lowell middle , then we moved Westwood Manor Hamady HIGH c/o89 boy did i have fun in my lil city much love to the city of FLINT
    R.I.P
    Leon Easy Willingham
    Andre Holeo Adams
    Terion Gasperel
    Dingo Humphrey
    Monte Zek Ewing
    Free
    my bro
    Douglas J. Long
    Free
    Shelton Fat meat greasy Silman

    THANKS FLINT
    D. Newson

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  13. R.I.P. Billy Gulley jr.

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  14. Just to name a few : King hood,civic hood,5th ward,merrill hood,
    D-BOYZ (mid 80s),GDs,vice lords,cobra,

    many more and hate to say it more to come

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  15. I grew up on Ruth ave when i went to bryant Jr high we used to c juice ridin up n his limo I remember all them gangs especially top dawgs wit they tiger hats I live n Ohio now but my mom still on Ruth man every house on the block gone except hers and my homeboys people on the corner I miss flint how it used to b lowdown from flintown

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  16. I didn't hear nobody mention the undertakers any remember that gang

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  17. I recently learned that the photo at the top of the post was printed out and posted at the Flint Police Dept. It wasn't done because we looked so menacing but to gently poke fun at Marcus, who's now a homicide detective.

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  18. Flint had some of the best musicians and smart people.
    This is the safest place to live and one of the greatest places to live. The people here are always kind and helpful.
    They even take care of the homeless people. So many priests and nuns live here and build churches.

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  19. I grew up in Flint west side but shits bad around here too I'm moveing to Burton ASAP even tho I live in Flint two and thank God they have real police :)

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  20. I grew up on Flint's Northside, Roselawn Dr. Best known as the Selby Hood area!Growing up was the most fun that I had in that neighborhood. (good times & BAD) 1 thing about my neighborhood (SelbyHood) we really stuck together

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  21. R. Porter , Topp DawgOctober 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Yeah ,we were ahead of our time n as a result ; look where it lead our City . The Most dangerous City n the United States so none of it was worth it , not to mention the incarceration yrs. I (& others ) went thru. It wasn't worth it! Pray 4 Our City ! Tha OG Topp Dawg !

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  22. I remember flint. Had a blast there. I was a gang member.i left the gang grew up. Just wanna give a shout out to the deleon family. Mess with them u might end up floating in the flint river. Or in a wheel chair.

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  23. Man, you are dry snitchin' on nem deLeons.

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  24. Growing up on genesse and bonbright enough said ��

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