Chapter 1 - 'The Making of a Gangster'

by Jeron McCall

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Posted by JeronMcCall
Hawthorne was a suburb of the city of Los Angeles, both of which were located in Los Angeles County. It encompassed an area of approximately six square miles between Los Angeles International Airport and the cities of Inglewood, Gardena, and Lawndale. Following its incorporation in 1922, Hawthorne grew as the area’s aerospace industry attracted workers. Some of the newcomers who moved to Hawthorne later achieved fame for their contributions to sports and entertainment.

The pattern of migration in Los Angeles County usually involved White people initially living in the most desirable neighborhoods, then moving as Blacks and Hispanics began to populate those areas. Blacks became the majority in South Central Los Angeles after Whites moved away and into the outlying suburbs, one of which was Hawthorne. Up until the 1980s, Whites constituted the majority in Hawthorne. But during the late 1980s, the Hawthorne city council allowed developers to demolish single family homes and replace them with apartment buildings. That resulted in Black people with low-incomes leaving the ghettos of South Central and Compton, moving into Hawthorne and other areas. Unfortunately, some of them brought the gangster lifestyle with them.

There was crime in Hawthorne when White people constituted the majority, but gangs were insignificant. Although there was a predominantly Hispanic gang, along with a multi-racial Piru gang of no significance, gang activity was not as common as it would later become. As more Blacks moved into Hawthorne from areas with a history of gang problems, gang activity increased. The gang wars that had been raging in South Central found new battleground in the city of Hawthorne.

The Gangster Crip alliance found fertile ground for growth in Hawthorne. Much of that growth could be attributed to the arrival of a member of a Gangster Crip set based in the city of Los Angeles. In the mid-1980s, a 19-year-old member of the Normandie Avenue Gangster Crips named Marvin “Jinx” Jenkins moved to Hawthorne with his mother and siblings. Although Jinx was young, he had developed a reputation as a killer who would murder anyone that he perceived as his enemy. He began gangbanging at 8-years-old when several of his teenage neighbors who were Normandie Avenue Gangsters asked him if he wanted to join their gang. Jinx wanted to be accepted, and he envied the fear that his neighbors instilled in others, and relished the attention they received from girls because of that. Therefore, when he was asked to join the Normandie Avenue Gangster Crips, Jinx readily accepted the invitation.

In order to join the Normandie Avenue Gangsters, Jinx was forced to endure a beating from several of his teenage neighbors as he fought all of them simultaneously. Even though he lost the battle, receiving a busted lip and swollen eye, he proved that by not quitting, he possessed the toughness needed to join. He fought back as he was punched and kicked, and that earned him the respect of the young Black males that he began calling his homies.

The conditions that led to Jinx becoming a gangster involved him being born into a broken family, along with racism. His mother Annie Jenkins, who was affectionately called ‘Miss Annie,’ raised Jinx and his three siblings by herself. Although Jinx’s parents were married, his father chose to abdicate his responsibility as a parent after moving his family from Mississippi. Racism and slavery in America had resulted in Black families being separated in order to further the economic aims of White people. That reality, which involved Black men being marginalized in American society, caused many Black men to feel no compunction about leaving their wives and children in order to live life without being responsible for the people who relied upon them. They were selfish and only concerned with their own self-interest. When Jinx’s father left his family, Miss Annie was left to provide for her children as best as she could. It was difficult for her to care for her children with the wages earned from her menial job as a maid. The time that she spent working left her children unsupervised, which resulted in Jinx seeking solace from the neighborhood criminals who were willing to provide him with comfort.

As Jinx matured in age, he became a menace to the people in his neighborhood, and to those that he considered his enemies. Even though children should never be concerned with money - it is the duty of their parents to generate the funds needed to provide for their needs - Jinx began to rob people and sell drugs in order to earn money. He used his income to purchase goods that were unnecessary for his sustenance; they were used to impress others, and to make Jinx feel good about himself. The crimes that he committed in order to develop a reputation that was accepted by his friends and enemies, earned him a criminal record. He became very familiar with the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles County, but because of his youth, he was never incarcerated for any significant period of time. That was because the police had never been able to gather enough evidence to convict him of a violent felony, such as murder or attempted murder, even though he had committed both acts on several occasions.

Jinx dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. He felt that he did not need to attend school, despite society’s attempt to embed the importance of education into the minds of America’s youth. Although it was repeatedly said that it was imperative that people graduate from compulsory schooling and attend college in order to have a successful future, Jinx felt that learning how to be a more effectively violent criminal was the only education that he needed.

When Jinx entered adulthood, he became a frequent guest of the Los Angeles County Jail. He was not bothered by his frequent visits because he felt that being incarcerated was a byproduct of the life that he chose to live. In an effort to force change upon her son by removing him from the environment that had made him a criminal, Miss Annie moved with her children into one of the few remaining single-family homes in the Moneta Gardens section of Hawthorne, which was on Lemoli Avenue. She hoped that being in a different area, where Jinx knew nobody, would compel her son to change his nefarious ways. That did not happen.

Lemoli Avenue was located in Moneta Gardens, which was an area on the eastside of Hawthorne. It was bordered by El Segundo Boulevard to the north; Rosecrans Avenue to the south; Crenshaw Boulevard to the east; and Prairie Avenue to the west. The Hawthorne Police Department considered Moneta Gardens to be the worst area of Hawthorne, due to it being responsible for the majority of the crimes that occurred in the city. That resulted from the many apartment buildings that were built after the Hawthorne City Council allowed developers to destroy single-family homes.

After arriving in Hawthorne and becoming acquainted with the people of Moneta Gardens, Jinx quickly made friends. There were other arrivals from South Central and Compton. Those who were not viewed as enemies became friendly with each other. They also met several Hawthorne natives who were impressed by the gangster lifestyle. The Hawthorne natives, that included people nicknamed Flex, Goose, and Meanie, wanted to create a gang of their own rather than form a satellite faction of the Normandie Avenue Gangsters, or any other non-Hawthorne gang. There was mutual respect between them and Jinx, and Flex, Goose, and Meanie could provide support that would help Jinx gain respect in Hawthorne. It was therefore decided that they would create a Gangster Crip set in the area of Hawthorne in which they lived – Moneta Gardens. And because 135th Street was the busiest street that flowed through Moneta Gardens, they decided to call their new gang the 135th Street Gangster Crips.

Gang members from South Central Los Angeles were often condescending towards gangbangers from areas such as Hawthorne, Gardena, Inglewood, and other suburbs of Los Angeles. They mistakenly considered those people weak, and would sometimes attempt to test them to see if they would defend themselves. That resulted in unnecessary conflict that increased the amount of gang activity, and resulted in people being murdered over mistaken notions of manhood.

The small group of people who created the 135th Street Gangster Crip Gang had to earn the respect of gangsters throughout Los Angeles County. Whenever other gangbangers disrespected 135th Street Gangsters, or attacked them physically, 135th Street Gangsters were quick to respond with violence. Their attacks upon others, and the murders they committed in order to instill fear in people made skeptics respect them, and resulted in their membership increasing. Some misguided youth who were raised in Moneta Gardens idolized Jinx, Flex, Goose, Meanie, and other leading members of the 135th Street Gangster Crip Gang. Their misplaced adulation resulted in the destruction of many lives, including that of a young Black boy who just wanted to be loved and accepted.

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