About the Project

"The Young Lords in Lincoln Park" collection grows out of decades of work to more fully document the history of Chicago's Puerto Rican community which gave birth to the Young Lords Organization and later, the Young Lords Party. Founded by Mr. José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, the Young Lords became one of the premier struggles for international human rights. Where thriving church congregations, social and political clubs, restaurants,  groceries, and family residences once flourished, successive waves of urban renewal and gentrification forcibly displaced most of those Puerto Ricans, Mejicanos, other Latinos, working-class and impoverished families, and their children in the 1950s and 1960s. Today these same families and activists also risk losing their history.

This challenge is not just academic. The physical dismantling of neighborhoods has real-life, contemporary consequences that reverberate across generations. What does it mean to never be able to see where you came from? Or to understand one's past as born only of victimization rather than generations of challenge, political organizing, and self-determination? By collecting and preserving the memories of those who lived, worked, and thrived in and around the neighborhood of Lincoln Park this project aims to address these challenges. It also makes clear that the Lincoln Park story is not just about Chicago, but sheds critical light on the struggles of working-class and poor communities for justice, equal rights, and self-determination in communities across the United States and beyond.


Partners and Scope of Work

Although the “Young Lords in Lincoln Park” collection documents many decades of work, the effort gained formal support from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in September 2011 as part of an undergraduate research project by José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, who was then an undergraduate student in the GVSU Liberal Studies Department. Mr. Jiménez graduated from GVSU in 2013.

Collecting this research and making this collection accessible has engaged a number of core partners at GVSU including Melanie Shell-Weiss, Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, Susan Mendoza, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, Nancy Richard, University Archivist, and Max Eckard, Metadata and Digital Curation Librarian. Student assistants Elizabeth Juárez, Esdras Rodríguez-Torres, and Carla Landhuis provided invaluable research, processing, translation, and transcription assistance. Consulting partners Zulema Moret, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies Coordinator, and Azfar Hussain, Associate Professor of Liberal Studies , contributed intellectual guidance and support to this effort as well. Administrative support from Marion Mathisen, Office Coordinator for the Liberal Studies Department, and Shelley Sickrey, Office Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, has been invaluable.


Page last modified December 5, 2013