Voices from the DiasporaEdited by José E. Velázquez and Andrés Torres
Little attention has been paid to the Latino movements of the 1960's and 1970's in the literature of social movements. This volume is the first significant look at the organizations of the Puerto Rican movement, which emerged in the late 1960's and 1970's as a response to U.S. colonialism on the island and to the poverty and discrimination faced by most Puerto Ricans on the mainland.
To combat these two problems, and drawing on a tradition of patriotism and social responsibility, a number of organizations grew up, including the Young Lords Party (YLP), which later evolved into the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization; the Pro-Independence Movement (MPI), which evolved into the U.S. branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party; El Comité; the Puerto Rican Student Union (PRSU); the Movement for National Liberation (MLN); and the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). The Puerto Rican Movement looks at all these groups as specific organizations of real people in such places as Boston, Chicago, Hartford, New York, and Philadelphia.
The contributors, almost all of whom were involved with the organizations they describe, provide detailed descriptions and historical analyses of the Puerto Rican Left. Interviews with such key figures as Elizam Escobar, Piri Thomas, and Luis Fuentes, as well as accounts by people active in the gay/lesbian, African-American, and White Left movements add a vivid picture of why and how people became radicalized and how their ideals intersected with their group's own dynamics.
These critical assessments highlight each organization's accomplishments and failures and illuminate how different sets of people, in different circumstances, respond to social problems-in this case, the "national question" and the issues of social justice and movement politics.
"This is a comprehensive treatment of one of the most important social movements dealing with the issues of colonialism and social justice. I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in the movements for social change."
—Arthur Kinoy, Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, Rutgers University School of Law, and Co-President, Center for Constitutional Rights
"At last we have a collection of writings that does justice to the Puerto Rican Left movements that emerged in the late 1960s. In the 1990s the inequality and marginalization that have been part of the Puerto Rican reality increasingly affects the larger American society. All readers—Boricuas and non-Boricuas—will learn from the experiences described in these pages."
—Frank Bonilla, Thomas Hunter Professor of Sociology, City University of New York
"...the essay by Carmen Teresa Whalen on the Young Lords in Philadelphia provides the rich insight into characteristic aspects of this community that only a historian can advance by using interviews of social actors and examining the record, thus opening new vistas of the Philadelphia experience."
—The Journal of American History
The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for LiberationDarrel Wanzer-Serrano