Hy Thurman is originally from Tennessee and now resides in Alabama. At the age of 17 in the 1960s, Hy settled in Chicago's Uptown community, a predominantly southern white community. There he became a community organizer and co-founder of the Young Patriots Organization - a group of displaced southern white youth - and created services in health care, breakfast for children programs and fought urban renewal plans to destroy the homes of the southern white residents. Hy was a co-founder of the Original Rainbow Coalition made up of the Young Lords, Young Patriots, and the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party that fought for self determination of the people in their communities.

Hy also founded Emerald City, the first drug abuse program on Chicago's northside and co-founded the Uptown People's Center of Northeastern Illinois University to recruit poor residents to complete a college education. He received a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology in 1973. He has also worked as a gang intervention worker and a school base director for Alternatives Youth Service Agency. He is presently working to reboot the Young Patriots and make their forgotten history available to everyone.