Time to visit with Stanley “Tookie” Williams — Co-Founder Of The Crips
We are all familiar with the American gang culture — “the color blue”, avoiding the letter “b”, the graffiti, etc. However, what often goes undiscussed when we get on our never ending vocal tirades outlining the negative actions of gangs like “The Crips” is the founders of these organizations. His name is Stanley “Tookie” Williams. He is one of the founders of the Crips. His co-founder was Raymond Lee Washington.
In keeping with the widely endorsed belief that good people only come from a functional family, Williams was denied this foundation. He was born to a teenage mother in Louisiana in 1953, and abandoned by his father at age one. In 1959, the young Williams and his mother moved to the South Central area of Los Angeles. His recollection of his childhood life in South Central was consumed by memories of drunk adults and other debaucheries.
The 1960s in the United States brought increased fervor from black people screaming for civil rights. The state juvenile crime record from those times also hit a high. For young black people In communities similar to that of Williams, the future was bleak. Poor black boys wanted something on which they could live — crime provided that. Williams was caught up in this mess and in 1969 he was jailed for car theft for two years.
Williams was released in 1971 and went right back to his crime activities. He gained notoriety as a strong and fierce bully thanks to his bodybuilding activities during his incarceration. Williams became known as a brawn for hire. Enter Washington who proposed that they come together and increase their power and control by forming a sort of confederacy of gangs led by him and Williams. The idea was that somehow if gangs had a more central control, crime would be cleaner. It was thought that it would be better to have an organized plan to commit crimes by eliminating free willing gangs. Thus, the Crips were born in 1969.
In 1979, Williams was convicted on four counts of murder and sentenced to death. After numerous failed legal appeals, in 2005 Williams was killed by lethal injection.
During his final incarceration period, Williams published several books, became the first prison convict to be nominated for a Nobel Prize for Peace, and was honored by the NAACP for his efforts to clean the Los Angeles streets. He targeted the youth in inner cities, and apologized for the creation of the Crips gang. He brokered the Tookie Protocol For Peace which was instrumental in getting the Crips and the Bloods to end their rivalry and promote peace in 2004.
Today let’s not forget Williams and what it meant to be a Gangsta. Too many of us today think rapping about guns or fighting over sneakers is “Gangsta shit.” Follow the beliefs of Williams and seek to become, support, and/or live like a real Gangsta — one who defends his people, fights for them, and provides for them.
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