You are on page 1of 20

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez
Civil-rights leader Leader of La Causa (the farmworkers fight for their rights) He won great gains for farmworkers Born 1927, near Yuma, Arizona

His family lost thier farm; They moved to California because they heard there as work there They became migrant workers

Travelled from farm to farm, picking crops Lived in labor camps Home could be anywere (tent, shack, room) For sure: no runnng water, no bathroom

Life of the migrant workers

Difficult! Mostly: stoop labour bending over all day long, picking crops Paid very little

Difficulties continued
Sometims, the farmers were cheated out of wages (money they earned and were supposed to get paid) Workers could not speak English, so there as little they could do they feared being sent back to Mexico! THERElife as even harder!

Chavez went when he could! He went to over 60 elementary schools! Sometimes, he taught himself! He especially love the books written by Gandhi and Martin Luther King!

During World War II

Chavez served in the navy When he returned: he got married They began workng on a farm wth other famly members near San Jose (all together 9 workers were makng 23 cents an hour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

CSO: Community Service Organization

Chavez joined this group They were working together to help Mexican Americans improve their lives! During the daytime: Chavez worked n the felds; Durng the evenng, Chavez worked to get Mexcan Amercans to regster to vote

IN 2 months: Chavez signed up 4000 workers! The farm workers found out about hs actvty wth CSO so they fred hm! They were afrad he would create trouble! So.Chavez started workng for CSO full-time! He worked for CSO for ten years! HE left the group n 1962

Farmworkers Unon
Chavez left CSO to form the Farmworkers Unon! Chavez, hs wfe and 8 chldren moved to Delano, Calforna they used ther lfe savngs (1200 USD) and formed the Natonal Farm Workers Assocaton (NFWA). Later --- the group changed the name to Farmworkers Unon

Workers were happy to sign up!

Ther motto as: Yes, it can be done! n Spansh. Ths marked the begnnng of Chavezs life work!

3 years later..
NFWA ganed the worlds attenton! It joned a strkeor huelga, aganst grape growers n Delano area. It as ths helga that brought fame to Chavez!

Strkes, fasts, marches

Usng these 3 tools Chavez proved that the farmworkers had power! Together they could bargan for better wages and workng condtons!

Flpno grape pckers struck for hgher wages NFWA joned the fght The strke as supposed to last 5 years Soonall of Amercan knew about La Causa! 1966------10000 people marched n Sacramento but stll NO CHANGE!

Chavez knew the public supported the farmwokers. So he announced a boycott of California grapes. This meant that no one would buy grapes. Many truck drivers agreed not to haul grapes. The boycott spread. Many grape growers went out of busness. But stll, the strke went on! Page 65

after a few years

Some strkers began to get tred They wanted to use volence (rots, dynamte, shootng) But: Chavez nssted on NONVIOLENT methodsso, he began a 25 day hunger strke to brng attenton to hs pont!

He won much support! Churches, civil rights groups, famous Amercans.(Robert Kennedy, Dr Martn Luther Kng, the pope all supported La Causa! FINALLY! After 5 years they won! The strke as over, the grape boycott as over!

next twenty years

La Causa went on! Chavez kept helpng farm workers! Asked for an end to pestcdes on crops! 1970s: lettuce boycott 1972: rght to work laws (he fasted, and caused much harm to hs health)

Died at the age of 66 Death caused by fastng and a lfe of hardshp He devoted hs lfe to LA CAUSA All hs lfe he lved pennless! Never owned a house r car Never took enough money to lve ongave everythng back to UFW

Even though hs health as falng he never stopped workgn for the unon He gave dgnty and hope not only to farmworkers, but to all Mexcan Amercans. Cesar Chavez as a gant n the cvl rghts movement of the Unted States. page 67