Between Social Service Reform and Revolutionary Politics: The Young Lords, Late Sixties Radicalism, and Community Organizing in New York City

  • Johanna Fernandez


Among the many developments of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a generation of largely inexperienced young radical activists from diverse racial backgrounds established influential organizations in the volatile environment of Northern ghettos. These groups formed, in the aggregate, part of a growing grassroots movement of poor and working-class urban dwellers, mostly minority, that gave political and social direction to the insurgent mood prevalent in Northern cities in the second half of the 1960s and the early 1970s. The example was set by the Black Panther Party (BPP) when, in 1966, following the first wave of urban upheavals, its founding members resolved to organize the radicalized sections of poor and working-class black Northerners. The appeal of the BPP among black urban dwellers was rooted in the group’s program, which expressed in urgent and uncompromising language the totality of basic political and economic grievances that had motivated civil rights protests in the North since the movement’s emergence in the 1940s.2 The Panthers’ tenets called for “the power to determine the destiny of our Black Community,… full employment for our people,… an end to the robbery by the white man of our black community,… decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings,… education,… an immediate end to police brutality,… [and] clothing, justice, and peace.”3


York City York Time Community Organize Lead Poisoning Sanitation Service 
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Copyright information

© Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard, with Matthew Countryman 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Fernandez

There are no affiliations available

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