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Black Guerilla Family
FounderGeorge Jackson, W.L. Nolen
Founding locationSan Quentin State Prison
Years active1966–present
TerritoryMost US prisons
EthnicityAfrican American
Membership100-300 full members with 50,000 associates
Criminal activitiesDrug trafficking[1] auto theft,[1] burglary,[1] homicide[1]
AlliesSymbionese Liberation Army, Nuestra Familia,[2][3] Crips, Bloods, [2] Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground,[2] Gangster Disciples.[2]
RivalsAryan Brotherhood,[2] Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate,[2]

The Black Guerilla Family (also known as the Black Family or the Black Vanguard) is a prison and street gang founded in 1966 by George Jackson and W.L. Nolen while they were incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California, north of San Francisco.[4]

Philosophy and goals

Inspired by Marcus Garvey, the Black Guerilla Family was characterized as an ideological African-American Marxist revolutionary organization composed of prisoners. It was founded with the stated goals of eradicating racism, maintaining dignity in prison, and overthrowing the United States government.[4]

Allies and rivals

BGF was associated with a number of leftist groups, including the Black Liberation Army, Symbionese Liberation Army, and Weather Underground.[4]

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 on the 1400 block of 9th street in West Oakland by 24-year-old Black Guerilla Family member, Tyrone Robinson.[5] Relations between Newton and factions within the Black Guerilla Family had been strained for nearly two decades. Former Black Panther Party members who became BGF members in jail had become disenchanted with Newton for his perceived abandonment of imprisoned Black Panther members and allegations of Newton's fratricide within the party. 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.[6]

Robinson was convicted of the murder in August 1991 and sentenced to 32 years for the crime.[7]

Fay Stender attempted murder

In 1979, former BGF lawyer Fay Stender was shot five times by recently paroled Black Guerilla Family member Edward Glenn Brooks for what Brooks said was Stender’s 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.[8] Stender was left paralyzed below the waist and in constant pain by the assault and committed suicide in Hong Kong shortly after she testified against Brooks.[9]


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Gangs in the United States" (PDF). Narcotics Digest weekly. 4 (40): 12. October 4, 2005.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Florida Department of Corrections. "Prison Gangs (continued) - Gangs and Security Threat Group Awareness". Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  3. "Major Prison Gangs". Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Walker, Robert (April 27, 2013). "History of The Black Guerilla Family Prison Gang". Gangs or Us. Retrieved May 8, 2013.[self-published source?]
  5. "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
  6. Hugh Pearson, Shadow of the Panther. p. 6
  7. Los Angeles Times, 10-10-91, pA22; 12-5-91, pA19.
  8. Russell, Diana (Spring 1991). "Fay Stender and the Politics of Murder". On The Issues Magazine.
  9. Horowitz, David; Collier, Peter (1981). "Requiem for a Radical". New West.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Black Guerilla Family Prison Tattoo". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2007-11-25. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links