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The Young Lords

The Young Lords: A Reader

Edited by Darrel Enck-Wanzer
IRIS MORALES
DENISE OLIVER-VELEZ
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 269
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfc5q
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  • Book Info
    The Young Lords
    Book Description:

    The Young Lords, who originated as a Chicago street gang fighting gentrification and unfair evictions in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, burgeoned into a national political movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with headquarters in New York City and other centers in Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, and elsewhere in the northeast and southern California. Part of the original Rainbow Coalition with the Black Panthers and Young Patriots, the politically radical Puerto Ricans who constituted the Young Lords instituted programs for political, social, and cultural change within the communities in which they operated.The Young Lords offers readers the opportunity to learn about this vibrant organization through their own words and images, collecting an array of their essays, journalism, photographs, speeches, and pamphlets. Organized topically and thematically, this volume highlights the Young Lords' diverse and inventive activism around issues such as education, health care, gentrification, police injustice and gender equality, as well as self-determination for Puerto Rico.In recovering these rare written and visual materials, Darrel Enck-Wanzer has given voice to the lost chorus of the Young Lords, while providing an indispensable resource for students, scholars, activists, and others interested in learning about this influential grassroots street political organization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2293-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Foreword: Why Read the Young Lords Today?
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    IRIS MORALES and DENISE OLIVER-VELEZ

    “¡El Pueblo Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido! The People United, Shall Never be Defeated!” Ten thousand people chanted and marched through the streets of El Barrio heading downtown on Lexington Avenue in New York City. The Young Lords had called the march to the United Nations to demand the end of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico, freedom for Puerto Rican political prisoners, and an end to police brutality in our communities. Young people, artists, and community activists joined it, excited to be part of the momentous event. Looking from the hilltop on 100th Street, we saw the bright purple, black, and...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction: Toward Understanding the Young Lords
    (pp. 1-8)
    DARREL ENCK-WANZER

    In 1968, over half a century after U.S. citizenship was imposed on Puerto Ricans against the will of a democratically elected House of Delegates on the Island, Boricuas in the United States continued to face hard times. Economic conditions were lean: jobs were hard to come by (especially if you did not speak English), and those jobs you could find involved hard physical labor and little pay. More than one job was often needed to support a family. “Great Society” social programs should have helped boost economic conditions, but most of those benefits were lost in the messy bureaucratic web...

  6. 1 Young Lords Platform and Rules
    (pp. 9-15)

    THE YOUNG LORDS PARTY IS A REVOLUTIONARY POLITICAL PARTY FIGHTING FOR THE LIBERATION OF ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE.

    1. WE WANT SELF-DETERMINATION FOR PUERTO RICANS—LIBERATION ON THE ISLAND AND INSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

    For 500 years, first spain and then the united states have colonized our country. Billions of dollars in profits leave our country for the united states every year. In every way we are slaves of the gringo. We want liberation and the Power in the hands of the People, not Puerto Rican exploiters. Que viva puerto rico libre!

    2. WE WANT SELF-DETERMINATION FOR ALL LATINOS.

    Our Latin Brothers and...

  7. 2 The Ideology of the Young Lords Party
    (pp. 16-26)

    This is the beginning of the ideology of the Young Lords Party. What is ideology? It is a system of ideas, of principles, that a person or group uses to explain to them[selves] how things operate in the world. Our ideology was developed out of the experiences of almost two years of struggling everyday with our people against their oppression.

    The systematic ideas and principles in this pamphlet are guiding us as to the best way to lead the liberation struggle of the Puerto Rican nation. These are not fixed, rigid ideas, but constantly developed as we constantly work to...

  8. 3 The Origins and History of the Young Lords
    (pp. 27-70)

    Bm: Cha-Cha, how did the Young Lords come into existence, become an organization?

    Cha-cha: In 1959 the Young Lords was a gang, a street gang on the near North Side of Chicago in the area of Oldtown. It got together as probably being more or less for protection because it was primarily a white area and the Young Lords were Puerto Rican. Later on more and more Puerto Ricans came into the area as more and more of the racist whites moved out into another community which was closer to Oldtown. After a while they became a social club, they...

  9. 4 On History
    (pp. 71-124)

    They worked

    They were always on time

    They were never late

    When they were insulted

    They worked

    They never went on strike

    Without permission

    They never took days off

    They were on the calendar

    They worked

    Ten days a week

    And were only paid for five

    They worked

    They worked

    They worked

    And they died

    They died broke

    They died owing

    They died never knowing

    What the front entrance

    Of the first national bank looks like

    Juan

    Miguel

    Milagros

    Olga

    Manuel

    All died yesterday today

    And will die again tomorrow

    Passing their bill collectors

    On to the next of kin...

  10. 5 On Education and Students
    (pp. 125-132)

    When the amerikkkan army landed in Guanica in 1898, they brought with them not only soldiers, but teachers, administrators, geologists, biologists, etc.When they got there, they threw away history books written by Puerto Ricans and had gringos rewrite our history. This new version ended in 1898, and in it the spaniards were the bad guys and the amerikkkans the good guys.

    What they were doing behind all this was trying to wipe out the minds of Puerto Ricans, our culture, language (they also changed the official language to english in the schools), history and our collective understanding of what we...

  11. 6 On Revolution, Nationalism, and Revolutionary Nationalism
    (pp. 133-162)

    PUERTO RICANS, WHEREVER THEY ARE, WHETHER IN THE united states OR IN BORINQUEN (PUERTO RICO), CONSTITUTE A COLONY AND THEIR OPPRESSION IS THAT OF A COLONIAL PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM THE HANDS OF “EL PATRON.”

    DECISIONS AFFECTING THEIR LIVES ARE NOT MADE BY THEM BUT FOR THEM BY THE u.s. INSTITUTIONS. SCHOOLS, JOBS, CHURCHES, AND POLICE STATIONS ARE THE INSTITUTIONS THAT GOVERN THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF PUERTO RICANS, AND WHERE CRIMINAL POLICIES ARE MADE, TAILORED SPECIFICALLY FOR THE “SPIC.”

    EL PATRON HAS NO INTENTIONS OF ALLEVIATING THE PLIGHT OF THE 20TH CENTURY SLAVES BECAUSE THEY SERVE HIS ECONOMIC POLITICAL AND...

  12. An insert
    (pp. None)
  13. 7 On Women in the Revolution
    (pp. 163-184)

    It is a well known fact that in our Puerto Rican culture married men are encouraged to have a woman on the side, or what we call “una corteja.” It is a fact of our society that we try to hide, yet it is there and is clearly oppressive to our women. The wife is there to be a home-maker, to have children and to maintain the family name and honor. Therefore she must be “pure” for the rest of her life, meaning no sexual pleasure. The wife must have children in order to enhance the man’s concept of virility...

  14. 8 The Garbage Offensive
    (pp. 185-187)

    In a display of community strength and support of the young lords organization, the people of East Harlem (El Barrio), and the YLO closed the streets of Third Ave. from 110th, across to 112th and down to Second Ave. on Sunday, July 27.

    For two weeks previously, the young lords had been cleaning garbage from the streets and into garbage cans to show the people that the department of garbage (Lindsay’s department of sanitation), or d.o.g., does not serve them. At first, communication with the people was slow. Then, as the barriers broke down and everyone got their thing together,...

  15. 9 Health and Hospitals
    (pp. 188-201)

    We want total self-determination of all health service at East Harlem (El Barrio) through an incorporated community-staff governing board for Metropolitan Hospital. (Staff is anyone and everyone working in Metropolitan, except administrators.)

    We want immediate replacement of all Lindsay and Terenzio administrators by community and staff-appointed people whose practice has demonstrated their commitment to serve our poor community.

    We demand an immediate end to construction of the new emergency room until the Metropolitan Hospital Community-Staff Governing Board inspects and approves them or authorizes new plans.

    We want employment for our people. All jobs filled in El Barrio must be filled...

  16. 10 The People’s Church
    (pp. 202-217)

    Two weeks after the church was taken from the people we returned for a second time to find the 11 o’clock service was changed to 3 o’clock and that you needed a ticket to pray. Reverend Humberto Carazana mobilized all his Cuban exiled friends (gusanos) to pose as members of the community in the eyes of the people. A week later, we returned and found the same situation, more gusanos, more cops and more refusals. They refused to take clothes from us to distribute to the community. They refused to even talk to us. We were not even allowed to...

  17. 11 Social Justice Programs
    (pp. 218-230)

    In this capitalist society, we are denied certain necessities such as food, clothing and decent shelter. We go to school without eating a hot breakfast and can’t concentrate on our own schoolwork as a result. How can we concentrate on doing any learning when our stomachs are growling? We are then told by teachers that we are stupid and can’t learn, giving us a defeatist attitude for the rest of our lives.

    The young lords organization realizes this, so we have instituted breakfast programs in our communities. One such program is at Emmaus House at 241 E. 116th Street. This...

  18. 12 Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization
    (pp. 231-244)

    The time is coming near for the first Congress of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party. From June 30 to July 3 members of the Young Lords Party along with delegates of the Puerto Rican Workers Federation, the Committee to Defend the Community, the Puerto Rican Student Union, the Third World Students League, and the Women’s Union will meet in New York City.

    During these four days we will discuss and plan the work of the new Puerto Rican Revolutionary Party. Before this time, all the people in Puerto Rico and the United States will participate in Peoples Assemblies, on the...

  19. Bibliography of Materials on the Young Lords
    (pp. 245-246)
  20. Index
    (pp. 247-252)
  21. About the Editor
    (pp. 253-253)