This picture illustrates the typical look of teenagers in Compton, during the 1950s.

The Spook Hunters were an all White-American racist street gang based in Los Angeles, California. They were established during the late 1930s or early 1940s, by a group of White teenagers in response to a sudden influx of blacks (migrating from the South to Los Angeles) during World War II. The word “Spook” was a derogatory term and reference to the dark-skin complexion of African-Americans. They were known for crossing over and terrorizing people in black communities.

The Spook Hunters and other White homeowners restricted blacks to Central Avenue (West of Alameda) and restricted Mexican-Americans, to mostly East Los Angeles. The Spook Hunters are arguably the first all White Gang in South Los Angeles to vandalize and firebomb homes occupied by African-Americans. Their source of power came from being enforced by police officers and being supported by those in White Communities.

Meaning they were rarely, if ever, prosecuted for their hate crimes against different ethnic groups. The Spook Hunters originated near South Gate, but their reign of terror extended as far as Compton, Huntington Park, Watts, Downy, Lynwood and Inglewood, California. They were also hostile towards other Whites, with different views on racial segregation and integration.

For instance, members of the Spook Hunters accused the former president John F. Kennedy, of being a Ni**er-Lover. Which is commonly used by racist Caucasians to describe a person who likes and associate or see African-Americans as equals (especially White females). The Spook Hunters cheered when Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963.

Racial Boiling Point

In 1948, racially restrictive covenants were outlawed but were still being privately practiced by White homeowners and real-estate agencies. Middle-class black families began to move into predominant white cities, mainly due to better job opportunities and affordable houses. The Spook Hunters hunted down and tormented black students at local schools such as Fremont High, located in South Central.

During this time, former President George H.W. Bush, former first lady Barbara Bush and their son former President George W. Bush lived on the East Side of Compton. In 1949, their eldest daughter Robin Bush, was born in Compton and died of pediatric leukemia in 1953.

Black families even started populating on the West Side of Compton while the East Side remained predominantly white. In 1955, the Compton Unified School District, built a second school called Centennial High, on Central Ave. This was an attempt to enforce racial segregation and a strategy to keep African-Americans from integrating into the all-White Compton High, a school on the East Side of town.

By the late 1950s, White students biggest fear was becoming reality, blacks began enrolling into Compton High. This intrusion of blacks led to the first violent race riot in Compton. White Kids received backup from the Spook Hunters and Blacks received support from The Huns, an African-American street gang in South Los Angeles.

The race riot started after a black girl was elected homecoming queen instead of a white girl, according to “Vice: One Cop’s Story of Patrolling America’s Most Dangerous City,” a memoir by  Sgt. John R. Baker (of the Compton Police Department). In 1957, a third school called Dominguez High, was built after the riot at Compton High, White students started transferring to Dominguez. The school was further East, which was still considered the White side of town.

By the mid-1960s, Whites started placing their homes on the market in fear of property depreciation, due to blacks followed by Latinos, moving into white suburban neighborhoods. This period was known as the “Great White Flight,” a reference to White-Americans fleeing in massive numbers seeking cities untainted by blacks.

The Spook Hunters are rarely mentioned but their history of violence still haunts the memories of elder African-Americans and early members of the crips. The Spook Hunters and other White Hate Clubs played a significant role in the early formation of Black and Latino clubs, which rose out of discrimination and being excluded from white communities.

Allies & Rivals

The Spook Hunters were allies of other White Hate Clubs, bounded by their hatred for African-Americans and other non-white ethnic groups. Their main rivals were the Gladiators, Businessmen, The Slausons, The Huns and other black clubs from the 1940s-1960s.



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