REVISITING HERSTORIES: The Young Lords Party
In the late 1960s, the Young Lords Party mobilized for the rights of Puerto Ricans in the United States and the end of colonialism in Puerto Rico. Women members brought attention to gender issues, ushering in a new militancy for women’s rights. Revisiting Herstories: The Young Lords Party examines the rise of feminism in the organization from 1969 to 1972 and the factors that advanced or derailed it.
Women in the Young Lords Party organized for reproductive rights, access to abortion, equal pay, childcare, and the end of gender violence, among other issues. During this seminal period for feminists of color, the activism of women in the Young Lords paralleled that of Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous feminists, uniting in struggles for economic, gender, and racial justice.
Revisiting Herstories: The Young Lords Party is about activism. It is also about the battle of ideas. Feminists in the organization recognized that the inequities women of color faced were not solely the result of gender but the outcome of intersecting social locations, class, race, and the legacy of history. At the outset, the Young Lords’ ideology upheld gendered and inferior roles for women. Feminist members challenged the organization’s sexism and advanced liberatory ideas and practices, charting new ground in the Puerto Rican diaspora.
Combining primary sources and research with lived experiences, Revisiting Herstories: The Young Lords Party presents an insider perspective, interpreting the activism of the past to inspire a more just future. It grapples with a tumultuous and trailblazing time whose concerns are still very much present. Women’s contributions offer a multifaceted and nuanced account of the Young Lords Organization and fill overlooked chapters in the histories of the social movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
EDNA ACOSTA-BELÈN, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University at Albany, SUNY summarizes:
“Iris Morales makes an important addition, giving due recognition to the transformative work that audacious visionary women can accomplish through unwavering determination, shared solidarity, and collective action. Morales continues to be an inspiring voice to new generations of Puerto Ricans eager to learn about their history and legacy of struggles for social, racial, and gender justice in US society and to forge ahead in giving continuity to those battles.”
BARBARA RANSBY, Professor, writer, longtime activist, and author of the award-winning Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement comments:
“Puerto Rico has been the site of resistance to colonial domination for generations, with struggles against racism and gender injustice intensifying in recent years. Iris Morales brings experience and talent to elevate the voices of Puerto Rican feminists. This book is about the heroic struggles of the Puerto Rican people but is a must read for all of us fighting, hoping, and working for a more just future everywhere.”
DEBORAH PAREDEZ, Poet, scholar, cultural critic, author, and a professor of creative writing and ethnic studies at Columbia University, writes:
"Iris Morales—organizer, writer, freedom fighter, filmmaker—offers us an expansive and illuminating herstory of the "revolution within the revolution" enacted by the women of the Young Lords. This book continues her decades-long work of creating urgent feminist interventions in prevailing histories of the freedom movements of the 1960s and 70s. Revisiting Herstories is at once a vital documentation of the past and a roadmap guiding us toward a radical future.