“Report to the Public: An Untold Story of the Conservative Vice Lords”

The hidden history of one gang’s shot at legitimacy.

Photograph: CVL Inc.Cupid, left, and friends wore CVL sweaters with pride. Circa 1968. Photograph: CVL Inc. courtesy Bobby Gore

“Report to the Public: An Untold Story of the Conservative Vice Lords” The Hull-House Museum’s off-site exhibit focuses on the Conservative Vice Lords street gang that rose to prominence for the obvious—violence and crime—and as this installation points out, community activism. Walls are covered in newspaper clippings. Many of the headlines are examples of positive press about the gang receiving an estimated $275,000 in grants from major foundations to continue its advocacy many suspected fraudulent. Black-and-white photos of CVLs posing in front of their self-owned businesses, alongside smiling community members, create a contrast to the violent lifestyle associated with gangs. Recorded speeches, including one by former CVL and NEIU lecturer Benny Lee—who contributed much of the exhibit’s documents—briefs you on the gang’s contradictory past, while remaining impartial.

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