This Day in History

July 14, 1970: Young Lords Occupy Lincoln Hospital

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: Health, Civil Rights Movements, Latinx, Organizing

In the early morning hours of July 14, 1970, the Young Lords occupied Lincoln Hospital’s major administrative building in response to the city’s indifference to the health needs of Puerto Ricans and African Americans in the South Bronx and the deplorable conditions of health care delivery at Lincoln Hospital. (The Young Lords was a radical group founded by Puerto Ricans and modeled on the Black Panther Party.)

The Young Lords’ actions at Lincoln were an extension of the group’s activism around issues of public health in East Harlem.

Rally at Lincoln Hospital, July 1970. Image by Billy Dee, based on a photo in Palante by Michael Abramson.

Their heath activism included:

  • the Garbage Offensive, which protested irregular sanitation services;
  • the launch of breakfast programs for poor children;
  • the Lead Offensive, during which they conducted door-to-door medical home visits in collaboration with progressive nurses, medical technicians and doctors to test local children for lead poisoning and adults for tuberculosis; and
  • the takeover of a city operated Tuberculosis truck.

This description is from the Bronx Museum and from the September 2015 Democracy Now! broadcast (watch below), “From Garbage Offensives to Occupying Churches, Actions of the Young Lords Continue to Inspire.”

We recommend the new short documentary called “Takeover.” Watch an interview with the director Emma Francis-Snyder on Democracy Now!.

Learn more about the Lincoln Hospital occupation and the rise of acupuncture as a form of detoxification in the essay Dr. Mutulu Shakur and the Lincoln Detox Center.

Find related resources below, including a young adult novel about the Young Lords.