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Cesar Chavez and The Chicano Movement

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1 Cesar Chavez and The Chicano Movement

2 Cesar Chavez Born in Yuma, Arizona in 1927, Cesar Chavez spent his childhood as a migrant worker. In the 1940s, he moved to San Jose, California where he married Helen Favila. Chavez met Fred Ross of the Community Service Organization and became an organizer for the CSO learning grass roots organizing methods.

3 He became general director of the national CSO, but in 1962 resigned and moved to Delano, where he organized the National Farm Workers Association. Their most effective tactic was the boycott. The NFWA urged supporters not to buy products from companies that did not sign a contract with the union.

4 NFWAUFW In 1967,the UFW targeted the Giumarra Vineyards Corporation (the largest producer of table grapes in the US), boycotting all table grapes. After five years, they finally obtained a contract with the grape growers. The Union turned its attention to the lettuce growers of the Salinas Valley.

5 End of the Bracero Program
1964- The bracero program finally ends, in part due to pressure form the NFWA and its supporters. That same year, President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The new law prohibits racial discrimination and establishes affirmative action programs to remove discrimination in advertising, recruitment, hiring, job classification, promotion, wages and condition of employment.

6 Timeline of Events 1965- On September 8, Filipino farm workers from the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee strike the Di Giorgio Corporation, a large grape grower in the San Joaquin Valley of California, demanding recognition of their organization and higher wages. The following week, Chavez and Huerta lead the NFWA in a vote to join the Agricultural Workers organizing Committee strike.

7 La Causa 1966- From March 17 to April 11, Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association march from Delano to the California capital in Sacramento to publicize their strike. They arrive on Easter Sunday. On August 22, the NFWA and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee unite to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFW). Shortly thereafter, the Di Giorgio Corporation grants the UFW membership a contract.

8 1968-On February 15, Chavez begins a twenty-five day fast at Forty Acres, near Delano, California. Shortly thereafter, he appears in court to respond to an injunction filed by the Giumarra Corporation aimed at prohibiting picketing by the UFW. Chavez is too weak from his hunger strike to testify, and the incident gains national attention and sympathy. On March 10, he breaks his fast at a Catholic mass in Delano’s public park with 4,000 supporters at his side, including Senator Robert Kennedy.

9 1970- The UFW wins a major victory when 40 growers in California’s Coachella Valley ask to negotiate contracts with the union. Huerta leads two months of negotiations that result in better pay, a union hiring hall, creation of formal grievance procedures, restrictions on the use of pesticides, rehiring of strikers, and employer contributions to a health fund. In another victory, grape growers in Delano sign three-year contracts with the UFW. Meanwhile, when Chavez refuses to call off a lettuce boycott, he is jailed and then released, pending an appeal to the California Supreme Court.

10 Embrace the Legacy Cesar Chavez,

11 Dolores Huerta Born in New Mexico, Dolores Huerta moved to Northern California with her family. But unlike most other farm- worker leaders, she did not labor in the fields. In explaining why she dedicated her life to service, first in the CSO and then in the farm workers union, she stated:

12 “My background is a little different than most people
“My background is a little different than most people. My mother was a business woman and she was born here…I was always active in organizations. I was…in Girl Scouts for ten years. I was active in all the Catholic groups. I started a couple of teen-age centers. I always liked to organize. Even when I was really young…I liked to join things” (Rosales 1996;133).


14 El Teatro Campesino The Teatro Campesino and Luis Valdez’s contribution to the formation of a Chicano art movement are legendary. But in it’s early years Valdez only wanted the genre to serve the farm- worker cause. In Chavez’s own words:

15 “Well it helped with the workers…it was street theater
“Well it helped with the workers…it was street theater. It was able to deal with three important things. One was just deal with…like we’re here to stay. You know, he came out singing “Viva la Huelga” and “No nos moveran” and all that stuff, great! The other thing he was able to ridicule growers which was great. Not attack them but ridicule, then deal with the internal problems we had about the strike-breakers or being afraid. Friday meetings would be jammed with people because even though we were losing the strike…they’re still coming because the teatro was here”- Cesar Chavez


17 Chicano! Part 4 The Farm Worker Labor Movement

18 Struggle in the Cities The 1960 Census counted nearly 4 million Mexican Americans with a per capita income of $968, compared with $2,047 for white Americans. The median school grade for Latinos was 8.1 versus 12.0 for whites. In Texas alone, the median grade level was 4.8. In San Antonio, Texas, only 1.4 percent of Chicanos had a college degree. In this same city, only 49.7% of the Mexican population lived in homes with plumbing versus 94% for the whites.

19 City Riots Conditions in the cities were so detrimental that several of the minority populations rebelled, especially in the African American neighborhoods. In 1965, the Watts Riots occurred causing millions of dollars of damage and leaving 35 dead. Riots also took place in Newark, NJ and Detroit, Michigan.

20 Inner City Schools In 1968, 91% of the students enrolled in institutions of higher learning were white, 6% were African American, and just less than 2% were Latinos. In Los Angeles, segregation increased. Mexicans made up more than 80% of the Boyle Heights-East Los Angeles area. The Eastside had overcrowded classrooms, a lack of Mexican-American teachers, and a high dropout rate.

21 Students Organize In 1967, students met at Loyola University (Los Angeles) and founded the United Mexican American Students (UMAS). In 1968, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) was created to promote higher education among Chicanos by poet Alurista. Chicano students formed the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in San Antonio, TX. One of its leaders was Jose Angel Gutierrez. In 1967, the Brown Berets was formed in Los Angeles to defend neighborhoods against crime and police brutality. It also promoted cultural awareness and pride.

22 MALDEF The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund was formed in San Antonio, Texas in with help from the Ford Foundation to promote and protect the civil rights of Mexican Americans through class action litigation, community education, and leadership training. Vilma Martinez, a lawyer from Texas became its general counsel from 1973 to

23 The East L.A. Walkouts In March of 1968, nearly 10,000 Chicano students walked out of five Los Angeles high schools- Lincoln, Roosevelt, Garfield, Wilson, and Belmont. Prior to the walkout, the school system had pushed out more than 50% of the Chicano students, through either expulsion, transfers, or simply lack of caring.

24 In 1967, only 3% of the teachers and 1
In 1967, only 3% of the teachers and 1.3% of the administrators of these 5 schools had Spanish last names. Sal Castro, a teacher at Lincoln HS at the time, became a leader figure for these youngster, both high school and some college students, and was indicted by a grand jury. One of the student leaders, Moctezuma Esparza, produced a film in memorializing the events.

25 Chicano! Intro

26 Chicano Movement Other Chicano high school students also walked out in protest; Denver, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Delano among others. The walkouts, which spread throughout the Southwest, had a tremendous impact on the participants; a majority remained activists and went on to receive higher education (Acuna, 2008:260)

27 Brown Beret- Carlos Montes
Carlos Montes, an original member of the militant Brown Berets, recalls why he became a movement activist: ”I was buying into this whole thing about the American Dream. Get an education. You can be whatever you want just read all these books and listen to your teachers. Even though at the back of my mind I was saying, ‘Something is going on here, you know, the reality that I see here is different from what you’re saying’.

28 Crusade for Justice On March 20, 1968, students walked out of classes at Denver’s West Side High School to demand the resignation of a teacher who reportedly said in class. “All Mexicans are stupid because their parents were stupid and their parents were stupid…if you eat Mexican food, you’ll look like a Mexican.” The protest went on for three days and 25 people were arrested, including poet and activist Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez.

29 Rodolfo ”Corky” Gonzalez
In 1969, he formed The Crusade for Justice in Denver. The main role of the Crusade for the Chicano Movement was establishing cultural nationalism and a vague notion of separatism. Gonzalez also wrote an epic poem, “I am Joaquin” that became the anthem for the movimiento.

30 I Am Joaquin- by Luis Valdez

31 I Am Joaquin-”Corky” Gonzalez
Joaquin feels that he speaks for both for himself and for an entire culture. With what aspects of Mexican American history and experience does the speaker identify himself? Joaquin embraces several seemingly contradictory aspects of his heritage. For example he identifies with both the Spanish and Indian peoples. What are some other conflicting elements of his heritage, and how does Joaquin reconcile them within himself? The presence of conflict is a central element in I Am Joaquin. 1. With what is the speaker in conflict and why? 2. Where does he find refuge from strife?

32 Reies Lopez Tijerina In 1963, The Alianza Federal de Mercededs is incorporated by Reies Lopez Tijerina On October 15, 1966, Tijerina and 350 other supporters commandeer the Camp Echo Amphitheater in Kit Carson National Forest, in northern New Mexico. When Park Rangers attempt to intervene, Tijerina orders his men to have them arrested for trespassing.

33 The Alianza Federal de Mercedes
On June 5, 1967 members of the Alianza make an armed attack on a courthouse in the village of Tierra Amarilla to make a citizens arrest of the District Attorney, Alfonso Sanchez. During the attack, a jailer and a police officer are wounded. Tijerina escapes when the National Guard arrive but is later captured and sentenced to two years in prison.

34 Attack on Tierra Amarilla
Chicanos! Part 2

35 Chicano Moratorium 1970- In July, a National Chicano Moratorium Committee anti-Vietnam War march and rally in Houston, Texas, draws 5,000 people. The following month, a second rally is held in East Los Angeles’s Laguna Park, this time attracting 30,000. After some gatherers loot a local liquor store, police attack the crowds with clubs and tear gas.

36 Ruben Salazar Later that afternoon, a local newspaper and TV reporter was having a drink with two of his co-workers from KMEX- TV in a bar called The Silver Dollar when Sheriff deputies fire a tear gas canister into the bar hitting him in the head and killing him. Salazar had already been warned by the LAPD about his coverage of police brutality cases.

37 Death of Ruben Salazar by Frank Romero
“East LA Riot” Death of Ruben Salazar by Frank Romero

38 Chicano Moratorium-video

39 Crystal City, TX In 1969, Jose Angel Gutierrez and several young volunteers begin to organize politically in their hometown Crystal City, TX. Although Chicanos composed more than 85% of population of 8,500, a white minority, who owned 95% of the land, controlled the city’s politics. The median years of education were 2.3 grades for Chicanos. More than 70% of the Chicano students dropped out and school authorities strictly enforced a “no-Spanish rule”.

40 Crystal City High School
In 1969, when two cheerleader positions were vacant, Chicano students were told they could not fill the vacancies since their quota of one had been met. The school board also imposed a requirement that any candidate for cheerleader had to have at least one parent who graduated from the high school.

41 La Raza Unida Party After several days of protest, 1,700 student walk out of school and their parents formed a citizen’s organization and decided that Mexicans would take over the school board in the spring election of 1970. In April, the group of parents and students had created a political party and took over 4 of the 7 seats in the School Board. They also elected Chicanos to City Councils in the area and even mayors!

42 La Raza Unida Party In 1972, a new political party holds its first national convention in El Paso, TX. Delegates decide to promote Chicano candidates for local elections instead of supporting major party candidates in national elections. Jose Angel Gutierrez is elected national chairman.

43 Vietnam War ends- 1973 A cease-fire agreement that, in the words of Richard Nixon, "brings peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia," is signed in Paris by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. The agreement is to go into effect on January 28.

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