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The Young LordsA Radical History$
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Johanna Fernández

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653440

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653440.001.0001

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Organizational Decline

Organizational Decline

(p.335) Chapter Eleven Organizational Decline
The Young Lords

Johanna Fernández

University of North Carolina Press

Amid polarized deliberations about the organization’s future and with many in its leadership advocating a stronger nationalist orientation, the Young Lords launch two branches in Puerto Rico: in El Caño and Aguadilla. The move to Puerto Rico, for which the group was ill prepared, combined with the decline of the broader movement’s mass character, weakened the ability of the Young Lords to remain connected to the grassroots. Before its final demise, on the request of prisoners, the Young Lords served as mediators during the Attica Rebellion. By 1973, Young Lord membership had declined considerably. At around the same time, key members of the organization left, including its talented writer and political strategist Juan Gonzalez. The chairperson of the organization’s central committee, the authoritarian Gloria Fontanez also married Don Wright, a man who became a sheriff in the south after the demise of the movements and who is believed to have been an FBI agent. Fueled by government repression carried out by COINTELPRO—the Counterintelligence Program of the FBI —political inexperience, and growing dogmatism, the Young Lords became entangled in violent internecine conflict that led to the organization’s demise in 1976.

Keywords:   COINTELPRO, Puerto Rico, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, El Cano, Puerto Rico, Attica Rebellion, Gloria Fontanez, Don Wright, Juan Gonzalez, Internecine Conflict, Government Repression

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