Chavez in 1974
César Estrada Chávez
March 31, 1927
|Died||April 23, 1993 (aged 66)|
Cesar Chavez (born César Estrada Chávez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American farmworker, labor leader and civil rights activist. Chávez started the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) along with Dolores Huerta. He wanted equal rights for Mexicans working in the United States. This union became the United Farm Workers. He led a boycott against grape companies to gain rights for workers. Chávez used nonviolence to make these changes. Chavez is thought of as one of the leaders in the movement for Chicanos to gain more rights in the late-20th century.
Early life[change | change source]
Chávez was born near Yuma, Arizona and went to over 37 schools. He graduated from the eighth grade. He did most of his organizing in California, especially near Bakersfield. Fred Ross taught him to lead unions. Fred Ross was a student of Saul Alinsky.
Activism[change | change source]
In 1965, Chávez and the NFWA started a strike for grape-pickers in California. At the same time, he asked Americans to boycott grapes from California. In 1970, the migrant workers won their fight for better pay.
He kept working against unfair labor rules. He stopped eating in protest three times because of low pay and bad working conditions. When he died, was leading another grape boycott to stop the use of pesticides.
Legacy[change | change source]
Chávez is respected in California and other states. In 2000, California's state legislature started a holiday to honor him. The holiday is on March 31, Chávez's birthday. This is the first time that a US public holiday honored a Mexican American or a union leader. Many cities have streets or places named for him. These cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, and Salt Lake City. In 1998 he was inducted into the Hall of Honor by the United States Department of Labor.
References[change | change source]
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to César Chávez.|
- "The Story of Cesar Chavez" Archived 2016-02-07 at the Wayback Machine, United Farmworker's official biography of Chavez.
- César E. Chávez Chronology Archived 2010-03-30 at the Wayback Machine, County of Los Angeles Public Library.
- Five Part Series on Cesar Chavez Archived 2017-02-23 at the Wayback Machine, Los Angeles Times, Kids' Reading Room Classic, October 2000.
- "The study of history demands nuanced thinking", Miriam Pawel from the Austin American-Statesman, 2009/7/17. A caution that histories of Chavez and the UFW should not be hagiography, nor be suppressed, but taught "wiktionary:warts and all"
- The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworker's Struggle, PBS Documentary.
- Farmworker Movement Documentation Project Archived 2009-11-14 at the Wayback Machine
- New York Times obituary, April 24, 1993
- Walter P. Reuther Library – President Clinton presents Helen Chavez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1994