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Chicago Gangs Had Business Cards In The 70s And This Is What They Looked Like

Chicago Gangs Used To Have Business Cards And This Is What They Looked Like image

Chicago Gangs Had Business Cards In The 70s And This Is What They Looked Like

Brandon Johnson found an unusual business card in his dad's cigar box when he was 12. It came "compliments" of the Royal Capris and . When asked about the card, Johnson's dad said his friend made it in art class years ago.

It wasn't until years later that Johnson discovered where the card came from and what it meant. It was a Chicago gang member card, used in the 70s and 80s.

After that initial break-though, Johnson became obsessed. He began looking for more cards and the untold story of the secret business cards unfolded.

"The contact info was the corner or where they hung out––their territory," Johnson explains. "I think it was just to rep their gang mostly, for pride of the gang, the prestige of being in a gang."

"I've heard they were used to recruit, so giving them out to younger guys in the neighborhood and saying, "Yeah, that's us." Also I think just as general tokens for affiliation. If they were having a party at a bar or something, they could say, "Show them this card at the door, and you'll be good." 

"And I think they were looking back to social-athletic clubs that existed in the city before their time and what some of the gangs came out of, actually, like softball teams and stuff. So membership cards. It was something they adapted from the groups they came out of."

Johnson is working on a book about business card culture among gangs in the 70s and 80s. You can find that here.

Via Vice

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