The Vice Lords are the oldest and second largest black street gang in the Chicago area. It was originally formed in the late 1950s as a club in the Illinois State Training School for Boys in St. Charles. As "club" members were released, several relocated to the Lawndale area of Chicago. They gained recognition as a gang during this time. Their main area of power remains the West-side of Chicago. Since the original formation numerous breakaway factions have formed. These factions now operate throughout the city of Chicago and outlying areas. Each faction has its own distinctive name and leader.
The Vice Lords utilize gold, black and red as their colors and the five-pointed star, top hat, martini glass, Playboy bunny, dollar sign and the cane. The different factions also utilize specific graffiti to identify themselves individually. Their common hand signs are a single upraised hand with the thumb, index and middle fingers to form a "VL." Also utilized is the upraised hand with all fingers extended and a separation between the middle and ring fingers. The Vice Lords call fellow members "People" and use the term "All is well." Members of the Vice Lords can be seen wearing University of Iowa Pittsburg Steelers Pirates and Penguins attire. Members also wear Louis Vitton (VL reversed) caps and UNLV Jackets (UNLV - YVNU reversed, Vice Lord Nation United.)
The Vice Lords can be found in the Midwest and some Eastern cities. They continue to have a stronghold over many Chicago neighborhoods.