480 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 34 halftones, notes, index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5344-0
Published: February 2020
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5345-7
Published: December 2019
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Utilizing oral histories, archival records, and an enormous cache of police records released only after a decade-long Freedom of Information Law request and subsequent court battle, Johanna Fernández has written the definitive account of the Young Lords, from their roots as a street gang to their rise and fall as a political organization. Led predominantly by poor and working-class Puerto Rican youth, and consciously fashioned after the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords confronted race and class inequality and questioned American foreign policy. Their imaginative, irreverent protests and media conscious tactics won significant reforms and exposed U.S. mainland audiences to the country’s quiet imperial project in Puerto Rico. In riveting style, Fernández demonstrates how the Young Lords redefined the character of protest, the color of politics, and the cadence of popular urban culture in the age of great dreams.
About the Author
Johanna Fernández is assistant professor of history at Baruch College of the City University of New York and editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
For more information about Johanna Fernández, visit the Author Page.
"Like so many other organizations in the United States that were both leftist and radical, the Young Lords' history has been removed from most recollections of the period known as the Sixties until now. Fernandez's work is a bold, brilliant and engaging challenge to this omission."--CounterPunch
“An exhaustive and enlightening study of [the Young Lords’] history [that] makes the case for their influence as profound thinkers as well as highly capable street activists. . . . Fernández’s [book] distinguishes itself by providing solid, incredibly detailed historical research. . . . It also places them in the context of the political and social debates that shaped the era and reveals how so much of their activism centered on the same issues—housing, health, education, and the marginalization of women, the LGBTQ community, and the working poor—that we face today.”--The Nation
“The Young Lords Party lasted essentially two years (1969–70) with an active membership of less than 3,000, yet as this book shows, its brief but spectacular history is worth studying and particularly poignant in the time of Black Lives Matter.”--CHOICE
"Johanna Fernández has not only produced the definitive history of the Young Lords; she also has single-handedly shifted our understanding of the post-1968 political landscape. Richly documented, beautifully written, and brutally honest, this book moves the Young Lords from the margins of the New Left and Puerto Rican nationalism to the very epicenter of global struggles against racism, imperialism, and patriarchy and for national self-determination, medical justice, reproductive rights, and socialism. A work as monumental and expansive as the Young Lords’ vision of revolution."--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression
"In this remarkable book, historian Johanna Fernández tells us that the children of Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. colonizer’s continent developed a ‘second sight,’ experiencing poverty and discrimination while possessing knowledge of Puerto Rico as a U.S. colony and U.S. imperialism, making their organization, the Young Lords, a powerful force. Challenging Latino antiblack racism and machismo and the church, and using intense community organizing, they not only brought liberation and class consciousness to Puerto Ricans but also infused the social movements of the 1960s with solidarity, launching the famed Rainbow Coalition. This is history writing at its best, rigorously researched yet powerful and moving, often poetic. And it is not ‘just history,’ but rather profoundly a cautionary tale of the present and the future given the limitation of social revolution within the powerful settler-colonial state that is the United States."--Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
"A groundbreaking and meticulous account of one of the most influential radical groups in 1960s America. After decades of painstaking research and countless interviews with actual participants, Johanna Fernández has produced a vivid chronicle of the unheralded achievements, the painful failures, and the continuing legacy of the New York Young Lords during those few brief years that we sought to change the world and captured the imagination of a city."--Juan González, Richard D. Heffner Professor of Communications and Public Policy, Rutgers University, and former Young Lords Minister of Education