Robert F. Kennedy called Cesar Chavez “one of the heroic figures of our time.” Chavez founded and led the first successful farm workers union in the country — the United Farm Workers of America— giving migrant workers a voice against a powerful agricultural industry. Throughout his life Chavez fought for social justice, better pay, and safer working conditions. The tools he used were the nonviolent ones of strikes, fasting, and boycotts.
Just in time for this coming Monday’s Cesar Chavez Day is the first comprehensive biography of this visionary leader — Miriam Pawel’s The Crusades of Cesar Chavez. Author Peter Matthiessen, one of the first to write about Chavez, comments: “Miriam Pawel’s new biography, massively researched and expertly written, is a welcome expansion and enrichment of her earlier study, The Union of Their Dreams. Together they represent the definitive story of this charismatic farmworker and controversial leader whose courage and near-genius invigorated the stormy history of American labor.”
Also pictured above: John Gregory Dunne’s insightful look at Chavez and his movement’s first days. Delano: The Story of the California Grape Strike takes us back to September 1965, when Filipino and Mexican American farm workers went on strike against grape growers in Delano, California.
Food, land, and social justice — just a few reasons why the Land Library devotes a full section to the story of Cesar Chavez and the movement he ignited — full of books such as these:
The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement by Susan Ferriss & Ricardo Sandoval, Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories by S. Beth Atkins, Sal Si Puedes (Escape if You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution by Peter Matthiessen
And here’s a few inspiring titles from our Waterton Canyon Kids Library:
First Day in Grapes by L. King Perez & Robert Castilla, Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull & Yuyi Morales, The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimenez