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Against the backdrop of America’s escalating urban rebellions in the 1960s, an unexpected cohort of New York radicals unleashed a series of urban guerrilla actions against the city’s racist policies and contempt for the poor. Their dramatic flair, uncompromising vision, and skillful ability to link local problems to international crises riveted the media, alarmed New York’s political class, and challenged nationwide perceptions of civil rights and black power protest. The group called itself the Young Lords.

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.

Read The Nation's Review

Puerto Rico, Protest, Prison: Johanna Fernández and Jose Saldaña Talk About The Young Lords

By Susie Day at Counterpunch News


Featured videos with Johanna Fernández

Sheryl McCarthy speaks with Johanna Fernández to talk about her new book “The Young Lords: A Radical History,” which paints a comprehensive and nuanced portrait of who The Young Lords were, of the social and political forces that created them, and of what they accomplished in a few short years.

John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University hosted author Johanna Fernández (associate professor of history at Baruch College of the City University of New York) presenting her new book: "The Young Lords: A Radical History," published by UNC Press. 

Booktalk and Q&A with Johanna Fernández with Mayday Space.

Johanna Fernández presents "The Young Lords: A Radical History" at Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse.

Democracy Now! speaks with three former Young Lords: Denise Oliver-Velez, Carlito Rovira, and Juan González, who helped found the organization and served as its first minister of education. They also speak with Johanna Fernández about her book.

Democracy Now! speaks with their very own Juan González, who served as the group’s first minister of education, and Johanna Fernández, co-curator of "¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York" at The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The surviving members of The Young Lords celebrate their 50th Anniversary at the Schomburg Center.