The Black Gangster Disciple Nation was formed on the South-side of Chicago in the late 1960s, by David Barksdale, leader of the Gonzanto Disciples, and Larry Hoover, leader of the Supreme Disciples. The two groups united to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN).
David Barksdale became the leader of BGDN and Hoover became his second in command. Barksdale died in 1972 and Hoover took over the leadership position. After Barksdale's death, Jerome Freeman, who was loyal to Barksdale and never wanted the two groups to unite in the first place, established a parallel leadership position to Hoover. As a result of this split, two distinct groups emerged within the BGDN. Freeman formed a street gang which calls itself Black Disciples or BDs, while Hoover renamed his gang the Black Gangster Disciples or BGDs.
These two gangs have at times been bitter rivals. The Black Disciples have remained relatively small in numbers, and have not branched out like the BGDs.
The BGD are presence throughout the United States. Chicago is the location of their leaders and they have a strong presence in most Midwest cities. The BDG is one of the country's largest criminal organizations.In the mid-1990s a federal task force was formed to investigate the BGD involvement in several murders and drug sales. The government found the gang was making over $100,000,000.00 a year in illegal drug sales. Several high ranking members were convicted and are serving life sentences.
The gang has made several attempts to legitimize their image. Some members dropped the "B" and began to call themselves GDs or Gangster Disciples. In the 1990s the Gangster Disciples entered into politics through the formation of the "Growth and Development" movement. Gangster Disciples began blanketing the city of Chicago attempting to register voters from the inner city. They then "encouraged" the newly registered voters to vote for candidates loyal to their cause. While incarcerated, the Black Gangster Disciples will unite with allied gangs under the guise of the Brothers of Struggle (BOS). The gang continues to be involved in large scale drug trafficking, murders and white-collar crime.
The Gangsta Disciples use the six-pointed star, (the "Star of David") as their symbol, which represents life, loyalty, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and love. They also use the upward crossed pitchforks, and a heart with wings.
Tattoos utilized by the BGD include: a devils tail; a top hat with a staff the top of the staff has a pitch fork with the numbers three, six, zero, and at the bottom is an upside down cross.