About the Project
"The Young Lords in Lincoln Park" project 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” project reflects many decades of work, the effort gained formal support from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in September 2011, under the shared direction of Melanie Shell-Weiss and José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, who are both members of the GVSU Liberal Studies Department in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Other core partners at GVSU include 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 also provide invaluable research, processing, translation, and transcription assistance on the project. Consulting partners Zulema Moret, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies Coordinator, and Azfar Hussain, Assistant Professor in the Liberal Studies Department, contribute intellectual guidance and support to this effort as well. Without the ongoing work and commitment of Marion Mathisen, Office Coordinator for the Liberal Studies Department, and Shelley Sickrey, Office Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, this project would not be possible.
Providing the widest possible access to these collections for community members, researchers, and teaching is a central aim of that project. To meet this goal, we are digitizing these growing collections and will make them available via the WWW on an ongoing basis, beginning with the launch of the project website on September 23, 2012, the 44th anniversary of the founding of the Young Lords Movement. We are also striving to make the project as fully bilingual, in Spanish and English, as possible.
More details about the project plan, including core benchmarks for the project’s first three phases, are available here.
Page last modified December 9, 2012