One of the Latin Kings in Uptown during the mid-1970s went by the street name of Bogart. Colorful street names usually came with a story that explained their origin. Perhaps this Bogart liked to imitate the movie Bogart. I received an email from a reader who pointed out that “bogart” has come to represent a range of behaviors synonymous with the actors character. The Urban Dictionary defines the term as someone who takes what they want, or who hogs things, or constantly has a cigarette dangling from his lip.

Another reader suggested the name may have come from a song on the Easy Rider soundtrack that was popular at the time, “Don’t Bogart that Joint, My Friend.” Lyrics were composed by Lawrence Wagner. Easy Rider was filmed in 1969 and almost immediately became a counterculture classic.

Each gang had its own special hand gesture that members used to tell friend from foe. I was struck by now many gang members leaned to one side and back a little when they gave this recognition sign. Many would also sneer while doing this. They loved to have their pictures taken by gang graffiti or something that symbolizes the group to which they belong. Every organization has similar customs. Members of the military for instance have their own unique salutes, postures and facial expressions, and love to be photographed by flags.