R.I.P. Benjamin Melendez

Benjamin “Yellow Benjy” Melendez has passed away. His extraordinary life as a Latin gang leader in the Bronx, who transformed his life upon discovering his family’s Converso roots, was uniquely captured by Julian Voloj.

Selections of Voloj’s award-winning graphic novel Ghetto Brothers: From Warrior to Peacemaker were curated by Yona Verwer into an exhibition by the Jewish Art Salon in 2011 at New York’s Columbia / Barnard Kraft Center. More info on the exhibition here.

Julian Voloj, Benjamin Melendez & Yona Verwer at the Warrior / Peacemaker exhibition at the Columbia / Barnard Kraft Center.

Yellow Benji was instrumental in creating the early 70’s Hoe Avenue Peace Treaty. The treaty was important in stopping the street gang wars in the Bronx.

Benji and Julian Voloj helped create the 45th Anniversary of this Treaty, which was a backbone to the movie the Warriors. 

 

Image courtesy Julian Voloj

 

Image courtesy Julian Voloj

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