Boricua Cultural Nationalism and Community Development Through The Young Lords Organization
Keywords:The Young Lords, Black Radicalism, Rainbow Coalition, Puerto Rican
This paper pulls from historical accounts of the activities of the Young Lords Organization and draws connections to theories on nationalism, community, and Black Radicalism in the 20th century. Addressing the development, triumphs, and limitations of the Young Lords Organization (also known in New York City as the Young Lords Party) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the authors examines the assumptions that lead to the rise of the Young Lords, and the political environment that resisted their agenda. As Puerto Ricans living on the mainland, the Young Lords held a unique position as a colonized multiracial people, despite borrowing ideologically from the Black Panthers and contributing as members of the Rainbow Coalition. The author discusses the radical and nationalist social movement discourse the Young Lords engaged with, which was accessible to many disenfranchised groups but uniquely targeted for the Puerto Rican experience. Lastly, the authors explores how the Young Lords implemented community development techniques in order to navigate the political and social climate of the United States in the sixties and seventies, and the conditions that would need to exist today in order for their programs to succeed in our modern world.