Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio is a new public art project featuring photographs by renowned photographer, Hiram Maristany ~ a founding member of the Young Lords and their official photographer. Follow along as we take the walking tour, map in hand to view 10 large-scale images across five locations in El Barrio.
Beginning on East 99th Street
The Young Lords New York were a revolutionary group of Puerto Rican activists inspired by the Black Panthers, who organized for social justice in El Barrio in the late 1960s to the early 1970s. They organized around issues of political liberation and core community concerns such as health, food, education and housing. The image above is entitled March to Free the Panther 21 taken by Hiram Maristany in 1969. It has been installed on the side of PS 109 (215 East 99th Street), an abandoned school transformed into an affordable housing complex of live/work space for local artists.
Moving east on 99th Street between First and Second Avenues, The first public campaign of the Young Lords became the Garbage Offensive, 1969 (two large images below). While wealthier communities had regular trash pickup, East Harlem and other poor communities of color throughout the city were left with trash piling up.
In protest, the Young Lords confronted the local NYC Sanitation depot ~ 111th Street at Third Avenue, and together with the community, they swept the garbage into the middle of the street, forming a barricade that halted traffic.
They set the barricade on fire, forcing the police and fire department to intervene, and they mobilized the press to document the event.
Continuing on to 111th Street, corner of Second Avenue, a large-format image of the Garbage Offensive is on view on the wall of Experts Knights Collision.
Lexington Avenue at 111th Street (below) is a corner filled with history. In the image below, to the right, sit the 1st Spanish United Methodist Church ~ briefly occupied by the Young Lords in 1969 and 1970. The historic church is currently on the back-burner of NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, with continuing discussion about the merit of historic cultural significance as it pertains to the Young Lords.
Below is a closeup of the image of Young Lords marching to the Bronx in support of members of the Black Panther Party, 1967.
We can’t leave this corner without posting the image below of Nuyorican writer, Nicholasa Mohr, on the side of the school located on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 111th Street, as part of the Monument Art Project in 2015.
The largest of the Mapping Resistance installations is location on Madison Avenue at 112th Street (above), on the fence of an empty lot where permits were recently filed to build a fifteen-story, mixed-use building.
Many of the images at this site relate to the Young Lords seizing a T B Truck in 1970. The underutilized truck, was only open part-time, not serving the community. The mobile unit was seized at 116th street and set up across the street from the Young Lords Headquarters on Madison Avenue at 111th Street. The technicians assigned to that mobil unit continued to take X-rays.
When the Young Lords were done, the mobile unit extended its days and hours to 9am to 9pm every weekday.
Below is a wonderfully thought out walking map, with the installations set to give those taking the walking tour a nice slice of El Barrio.
Mapping Resistance: The Young Lords in El Barrio, photographs by Hiram Maristany, commemorating the activist history of the Young Lords, was organized by artist Miguel Luciano, with support from the Surdna Foundation, A Blade of Grass and El Museo del Barrio. The installation will be on view through September 30, 2019. Information on the images at each site, in English and Spanish.
Related programming including tours, to be announced. Take a look back at 50 years of photographs taken by the photographer, Hiram Maristany, of his home in el Barrio at the exhibition, Anchor, which was on view at Hunter East Harlem Gallery in 2015.