Before Crips

Fussin', Cussin', and Discussin' among South Los Angeles Juvenile Gangs

John C. Quicker and Akil S. Batani-Khalfani
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2198-2
Publication: Jul 22

HC: $115.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-2197-5
Publication: Jul 22

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2199-9
Publication: Jul 22

446 pages
6 x 9
7 tables, 14 halftones, 1 maps

A historical analysis of South Los Angeles juvenile gang life as revealed by those who were there


Professor John Quicker and Akil Batani-Khalfani, aka Bird, met in Quicker’s classroom and soon developed an easy rapport. As Bird shared his knowledge of the Slausons—a legendary 1950s/1960s gang in Los Angeles that pre-dated the infamous Crips and Bloods— Quicker recognized Bird had firsthand experiences of gang life in South LA that predated the scholarly record. Before Crips uses their collaboration to provide a macro historical analysis of the South Los Angeles gangs from which the Crips and Bloods emerged.

The authors mine a critical archive, using interviews with surviving gang members as well as theory and a review of gang literature, to contextualize Black gang formation and address the societal aspects of gang life. They discuss (and fuss and cuss about) topics ranging from the criminal economy and conceptions of masculinity to racial and gendered politics and views of violence. This insider/outsider history illuminates not only how gangs operated but also how they formed, developed, and grew in a backdrop of racial inequality and police brutality that came to a head with the 1965 Watts Rebellion.

Providing an essential understanding of early Los Angeles gang life, Before Crips explains what has remained constant, what has changed, and the roots of the violence that persists through life in South LA today.

About the Author(s)

John C. Quicker is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the California State University Dominguez Hills and the author of Homegirls: Characterizing Chicana Gangs.

Akil S. Batani-Khalfani is a South Los Angeles Street Sage. He is a former Youth Correctional Counselor for California Youth Authority and a former Youth Gang Counselor for the Los Angeles Community Youth Gang Services.


In the Series

  • Studies in Transgression edited by David Brotherton

    Studies in Transgression, edited by David Brotherton, publishes books at the intersection of sociology and critical criminology. This series challenges the normative conventions of the broader study of crime to produce a fuller accounting of a society’s responsibilities for and complicity in the threats and wrongdoing that come to be seen as police-able crimes. The series examines behaviors understood as transgressive by looking at the cultural assumptions that contextualize that reading and the structural factors that underlie those behaviors. Books in the series will examine marginal lifestyles and their relationship to crime around the Unites States and the globe.  Perspective authors should contact the series edtior David Brotherton or Temple University Press Editor Ryan Mulligan to discuss their work in progress for inclusion in the series.