Date: September 23, 2012

On Sunday, September 23, 2012, faculty and undergraduate student researchers at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) launched an oral history project, dedicated to documenting the history of the displacement of Puerto Ricans, Mejicanos, other Latinos, and the poor from Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, as well as the history of the Young Lords nationwide. Recording, preserving, and making these memories accessible to teachers, researchers, and the community is the guiding aim of this effort.

More information about “The Young Lords in Lincoln Park” project, including videotaped oral histories, photographs, and a growing collection of related material can be found at:

“The Young Lords in Lincoln Park” project grows out of the ongoing struggle with the Richard J. Daley Machine for fair housing, self-determination, and human rights that was launched by Mr. José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, who founded the Young Lords Movement on September 23, 1968. Just last Monday, the Greater Little Rock Church, which was the Young Lords’ People’s Church, was sold and will be torn down to build a Walgreen’s, underscoring the urgency of this preservation effort. The pastor then was United Methodist Rev. Bruce Johnson who was found brutally stabbed along with this wife, Eugenia, on September 30, 1969. Their murders have never been solved.

The GVSU project is co-directed by Mr. Jiménez and Professor Melanie Shell-Weiss, of the Liberal Studies Department in the GVSU Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Core partners in this effort include the GVSU Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship and the GVSU Special Collections and University Archives.

Highlights of this project include a rich collection of more than 100 videotaped oral histories which become fully available online over the next year. A subset of these oral histories as well as photographs and biographies of all 88 individuals who have been interviewed to date are currently available through the website.

Additional materials that will become available online through the GVSU Libraries Digital Collections include historical photographs, papers, and clippings documenting the origins of the Young Lords Movement including Mr. Jiménez’s unpublished manuscripts from his campaign for alderman of Chicago’s 46th ward, founding of the Lincoln Park Camp and KO Club (both in the Grand Rapids metropolitan area), as well as photos, documents, clippings, and related ephemera donated by other individuals who have been interviewed as part of this project.

News RSS Feed