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Stanley Tookie Williams is best known for founding the Crips gang.
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Stanley Tookie Williams was born December 29, 1953 in New Orleans, Louisiana. At a young age Williams moved to Los Angeles and immediately became immersed in the street life. Williams and a friend created the "Crips" gang and would eventually be arrested and convicted of murder associated with the gang's activity. He was executed by the state of California on December 13, 2005.
I've become a man of peace. My redemption keeps me strong.
Crips founder. Born Stanley "Tookie" Williams III on December 29, 1953, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Williams' mother, who was only 17 at the time of his birth, was left to care for Williams alone after his father abandoned the family. In 1959, Williams and his mother left New Orleans and headed to Los Angeles, California, by Greyhound bus in the hopes of achieving a better way of life. Williams later recalled the affluent-looking South Central neighborhood where they rented their first apartment as "a shiny red apple rotting away at the core."
Finding the street "more interesting than being at home," Williams began wandering the neighborhood at age six. As the new kid on the block, Williams had to quickly learn how to defend himself from neighborhood bullies, and was often thrown into the middle of physical conflicts. "As a member of the black male species living in the ghetto microcosm, circumstances dictated that I be either prey or predator," Williams later said about his adolescence. "It didn't require deep reflection to determine which of the two I preferred."
Immersed in a culture of violence and drugs and without a strict parental influence, Williams grew up idolizing criminals and "mimicking pimps and drug dealers." During his early teens, Williams was paid a few dollars to water, feed and patch up dogs that had been mauled in illegal dogfights. Later, these dogs would be shot or beaten to death by the gamblers and hustlers in his neighborhood. The betting progressed to fights between young boys, and Williams was paid to box other young boys to unconsciousness. The experiences hardened Williams, who kept the horrors he saw—and performed—from his mother.
Williams rarely attended school, believing that he was destined to be "dys-educated"—a term he coined to describe the impaired and diseased knowledge he received in school and on the streets. Instead, he was convinced he could do better in the streets, and earned his reputation with his fists. Through fighting he made several friends, with whom he frequently stole and made quick money as a bootblack. One of these new friends was Raymond Washington, who Williams met in 1969.
The two boys formed an alliance that became known as the "Crips," a group they initially founded in order to protect their neighborhood from other, larger gangs. The original Crips consisted of approximately 30 members, but they soon divided into the Westside and Eastside Crips. By 1979 the Crips had evolved into a statewide organization, and Williams and Washington lost control of the group.
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More than 30,000 gangs plague American streets, wreaking havoc from Los Angeles to New York. This violent subculture floods cities with drug traffic, extortion, and even weapons trading. But some members stand apart from others for their fearless attitudes and business savvy. From Leroy "Nicky" Barnes, one of Harlem's biggest drug king pins, to Kody "Monster" Scott, a member of L.A.'s Crips gang by the age of 13, these notorious gangsters have become legendary for rising to the top of their organizations by pushing the limits, no matter the cost.
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