Flipping through the pages of a dusty, yellowing paperback in his office, James “Jim” Short, Jr., WSU professor emeritus of sociology, pointed to a black-and-white photograph.
“That’s on the westside (of Chicago),” the 94-year-old gang researcher said as he pointed out several well-dressed figures in the photo. “That’s where the Vice Lords were located.”
The photo depicts several young men walking their dogs down a bustling street. All were members of one of the many street gangs Short studied in the 1950s and 1960s. His research, half a century after his historic study on the rise of supergangs like the Vice Lords, is still impacting sociology today.
Short remains as interested as ever.
“That’s why I became a sociologist,” he said. “I was curious about the world around me.”