Oct 01

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 Fernandez

    Baruch College CUNY

    Dr. Johanna Fernández is a former Fulbright Scholar to Jordan in the Middle East and Assistant Professor of History at Baruch College of the City University of New York. She has written numerous articles on the activism, politics and gender dynamics of the Young Lords that have been published in field-defining anthologies of the sixties movements. Her Young Lords article in Freedom North: Black Freedom Struggles Outside of South and her article on Denise Oliver and the women of the Young Lords in Want to Start a Revolution: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle are cited as ground breaking texts that have changed the way historians understand the civil rights and black power era.

    Her forthcoming book, When the World Was Their Stage: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1969–1976, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2016. Professor Fernández developed the exhibition project ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York, alongside of Art Historian Yasmin Ramirez. The project, which has been reviewed by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NPR is currently showing at the Bronx Museum, El Museo del Barrio and Loisada Center.

    Fernández is an activist scholar known for her work in the movement to Free Mumia. She is editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal. With Mumia Abu-Jamal she is co-editor of 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. She is the writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    Johanna Fernández received her Ph.D. in United States History at Columbia University under the direction of the late Manning Marable.

  • Jose Cha-Cha Jimenez

    Founder, Young Lords

    Jose Cha-Cha Jimenez is the former head of the Chicago Young Lords.

  • Felipe Luciano

    Co-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-Escobar

    Hampshire 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.



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