The Young Lords Party, Part I
“The epic of the Young Lords is one of the most exciting, important yet neglected stories in the Black Revolt and Puerto Rican Liberation. When it came to a Black & Puerto Rican alliance and to organizing the grassroots, all the political “experts” said it couldn’t be done. But, when the stories of the triumphant Young Lords protests and programs reached the front pages from Chicago to New York and Newark, the “experts” decided to bury that legacy of Black & Latino solidarity, the original Rainbow Coalition and the Nuyorican Renaissance. This conversation is the first of a two-part program that begins to unpack important lessons from this unforgettable story with Jose Cha Cha Jimenez, Denise Oliver-Velez, Felipe Luciano, Johanna Fernandez and Wilson Valentin. Part Two will be scheduled in 2016.” – Komozi Woodard
Johanna FernandezBaruch College CUNY
Johanna Fernandez teaches 20th Century US history and the history of social movements in the Department of History at Baruch College, CUNY. Her book The Young Lords: A Radical History was published in February 2020. In 2015, she directed and co-curated, ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York an exhibition in three NYC museums cited by the New York Times as one of the year’s Top 10, Best in Art. In 2014, Dr. Fernández sued the NYPD for its failure to honor her research-driven, Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. Her suit led to the recovery of the “lost” Handschu files, the largest repository of police surveillance documents in the country, namely over one million surveillance files of New Yorkers compiled by the NYPD between 1954-1972, including those of Malcolm X.
Professor Fernández is the editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal. With Mumia Abu-Jamal she co-edited a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor. Her awards include the Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship of the Scholars-in-Residence program at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. She is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Fernández is the recipient of a B.A. in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Columbia University.
Jose Cha-Cha JimenezFounder, Young Lords
Jose Cha-Cha Jimenez is the former head of the Chicago Young Lords.
Felipe LucianoCo-founder, New York Young Lords
Felipe Luciano became known within activist circles for his membership in the Last Poets, the group of black power era artists mentored by Amiri Baraka, whose politically charged live-music and spoken word poetry performances in the 1960s prefigured the emergence of hip hop and rap in the 1970s and 1980s. Luciano was chairman of the New York Young Lords Organization (YLO) when it was launched in 1968, later renamed the Young Lords Party. From 1972 to 1975, he founded and produced the acclaimed radio show Latin Roots, the first English language program in the United States to feature Latin culture and music and to develop an ethnically and racially diverse audience. In the mid-1970s, Luciano's career evolved from radio to television when he joined the news team at NBC's New York City affiliate station as general reporter and later as weekend anchor, becoming the first Puerto Rican news anchor of a major media network station in the United States.
Wilson Valentín-EscobarHampshire College
Wilson Valentín-Escobar, Ph.D. is co-curator of the exhibition, ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York. An Associate Professor of American Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Sociology at Hampshire College, he is the Chair of the Five College Latin American, Caribbean, and Latin@ Studies Program. A Brooklyn New York-native, Dr. Valentín-Escobar is currently completing his forthcoming book, Bodega Surrealism: The Emergence of Latin@ Artivists in New York City (New York University Press). He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Michigan.