Sliwa, Curtis(?1954– ) social activist; born in New York City. He was a rebellious student in parochial school. While working at a McDonald's restaurant, he organized the Rock Brigade, which evolved into the Magnificent Thirteen and then the Guardian Angels (1979). Originally the Guardian Angels simply wanted to protect subway riders in New York City, but the organization spread to many other cities (eventually to foreign countries) and broadened its goals to protecting people in various public areas. Some regarded the Angels as potentially dangerous vigilantes, but gradually the group came to be accepted by city governments and the public at large. He married Lisa Evers (1981), a karate black belt, who served as his close associate in his expanding organization. There were several attempts on Sliwa's life during the 1980s.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.