Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Lecture | Johanna Fernández | The Young Lords: A Radical History

Thursday, March 16, 2023

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Friedman Hall, Room 102

Free and open to the public 

About the Event
Join us for a lecture by Johanna Fernández, Associate Professor of History at Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor Fernández will be presenting on her book, The Young Lords: A Radical History, recipient of the American Book Award; the three top awards of the Organization of American Historians, including the prestigious Frederick Jackson Turner award for best first book in history.

Professor Fernández’s book provides the definitive account of the Young Lords, from their roots as a Chicago street gang to their rise and fall as a political organization in New York. Led by poor and working-class Puerto Rican youth, the Young Lords occupied a hospital, blocked traffic with uncollected garbage, took over a church, tested children for lead poisoning, defended prisoners, fought the military police, and fed breakfast to poor children.

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About the Speaker
Professor Fernández has curated a number of exhibitions, including ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York, an exhibition in three NYC museums, which she directed and co-curated with Art Historian, Yasmin Ramirez. The project was cited by the New York Times as one of 2015’s Top 10, Best In Art.

Most recently, Brown University acquired through Johanna Fernández the papers of imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, a development covered widely in major newspapers across the country.

Professor Fernández is the writer and executive producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (BigNoise Films, 2010). She’s editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal (City Lights, 2015); and with Abu-Jamal she co-edited a special issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy, titled The Roots of Mass Incarceration in the US: Locking Up Black Dissidents and Punishing the Poor (Routledge, 2014). Fernández’s mainstream writings have been published internationally, from Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post to the Verso Books blog. She has appeared in a diverse range of print, radio, online, and televised media including NPR, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Democracy Now!.

During the pandemic years, Dr. Fernández was host of WBAI’s daily morning show, “A New Day,” at 99.5 FM in NYC and she’s now host of the station’s Friday morning show, “What’s Going On” at 7am.

Fernández is the recipient of a B.A. in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Columbia University.