Teaching the Young Lords Party: The Civil Rights Movement in New York City

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The social studies curriculum positions the Civil Rights Movement as an era when individuals and groups promoted the collective rights of marginalized individuals. Yet, the Civil Rights Movement is often viewed as a Southernbased campaign (Fernandez, 2003). This awareness has been solidified in social studies classrooms with a focus on civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks (Brown Buchanan, 2015). While other individuals such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, civil rights leaders in California, have been included in the study, social studies neglects to mention movements in other geographical settings (Loewen, 2018). New York State and New Jersey social studies curricula maintain this perspective. The limited geographical scope implies that the Civil Rights Movement did not happen in a setting like New York City. The inclusion of the Young Lords Party (YLP) in social studies (SS) curricula expands the view of the Civil Rights Movement.

The YLP advocated for the civil rights of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos living in New York City and New Jersey. This article provides: 1) a concise overview of the YLP during this time period, 2) explanations on how the New York State (NYS) and New Jersey (NJ) curricula fail to mention local civil rights movements, and 3) support for the inclusion of the YLP. Incorporating the YLP into the NYS and NJ SS curricula will help students learn how one aspect of the Civil Rights Movement occurred in the heart of New York City.

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New Jersey Council for the Social Studies

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