Angel of Fear

Documentary about Jeff Fort, leader of the Blackstone Rangers and El Rukn gangs in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood.

00:06Copy video clip URL Slate.

00:35Copy video clip URL Open on a documentary on Jeff Fort, leader of the El Rukn Organization. Carol Marin reports on Fort’s beginning as a leader of the Blackstone Rangers in the 1960s and his street name, Angel. Marin begins to describe Fort’s background, including his beginnings as a leader in the Woodlawn neighborhood and his lifelong illiteracy. He talks to people who worked in Woodlawn during the ’60s, including a priest and a police officer, about the atmosphere of that era. Marin speaks to a man who knew Fort as a teenager. She describes the evolution of the Rangers into the Black P. Stone Nation. Marin speaks to a former social worker who knew Fort as an intelligent and charismatic leader. They talk about gang wars. Police officers speak about the violence.

9:56Copy video clip URL Marin reports on Fort testifying at a national trial about gang violence. Marin reports on a church that the Nation co-opted as a headquarters. She continues to talk with community leaders about how they could stop the violence, including a controversial attempted education program. 

21:10Copy video clip URL TV Special paid for by Fort and the Nation. News reporter says that this group of black youth had been able to form a musical company, and that the Nation was no longer a violent gang. Marin explains that Fort hired the group to go in sing in an attempt to improve the image of the Nation. Marin reports on Fort’s interaction with the Civil Rights Movement. Marin speaks with Oscar Brown Jr., a man who created a musical review as an alternative to the streets. A former gang member recounts an execution that Fort carried out. They speak about police and gang relations.

30:55Copy video clip URL Marin reports on the destruction of the Woodlawn neighborhood by the 1970’s. Marin explains that Fort is sent to prison for misusing federal funds, and emerges from prison a Muslim and the leader of a Muslim sect, the El Rukn. Marin explains that police suspected the group of selling drugs, buying property under false names, and committing violent acts, but these things were difficult to prove. Marin reports on the cultural aspects of the El Rukn group. Information about a police raid that found automatic weapons. She speaks about their political influence.

37:34Copy video clip URL Marin speaks to Fort’s mother, who says that he is a “very good boy.” They talk about the arrest of Fort for interstate conspiracy to sell narcotics in 1983. Marin reports on the El Rukn’s decision to commit terrorist acts in the name of the Libyan government for money. Marin talks about Fort’s current legal standing. She speaks about the redevelopment of Woodlawn. Several people reflect on knowing Fort. 

48:22Copy video clip URL Cut to black.

49:17Copy video clip URL Tape ends. 

 

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