Spirit of America Bookstore

César  E.  Chávez
[1927-1993]

short profile

works by César Chávez

works about César Chávez

other media

U.F.W. & Dolores Huerta

image gallery

links

          Cesar E. Chavez portrait (photo by Rick Tejada Flores)


"You are never strong enough that you don't need help."

"It is not enough to teach our young people to be successful . . . so [that] they can realize their ambitions,
so [that] they can earn good livings, so [that] they can accumulate the material things that this society
bestows. Those are worthwhile goals. But it is not enough to progress as individuals while our
friends and neighbors are left behind."

"The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating."

"Being of service is not enough. You must become a servant of the people. When you do,
you can demand their commitment in return."

— César E. Chávez


        César Estrada Chávez was born 31 March 1927 on the family farm outside Yuma, Arizona. A drought when César was 15 years old caused the loss of the farm, and the family became migrant farm workers in Arizona & California. He joined the Navy in 1944 at 17, and married Helen Fabela in 1948 in Delano, California. They settled in San Jose, California where César met Fred Ross, Sr. Ross founded the Community Service Organization in California in 1949, and enlisted talented young organizers Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta to develop a network of organizations in Mexican American communities.
        In 1962, César left C.S.O. and moved with his wife & eight children back to Delano, and founded the National Farm Workers Association. In 1965, the N.F.W.A. joined a strike against the Delano area grape growers initiated by the AFL-CIO's Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee; the two groups merged to form the United Farm Workers of America. The five-year strike and boycott was supported by labor unions, churches, students & minority groups throughout the USA; by 1970, most growers had signed contracts with the UFW. TIME Magazine printed a cover story about César Chávez and La Causa on 4 July 1969 {image below}.
        But in 1973, the growers attempted to force the farmworkers to sign new contracts, sparking the largest farm labor strike in American history. In 1975, California passed a collective bargaining law that extended labor union protection to farm workers. California grape growers continued to refuse to honor contract agreements until November 2000, when the boycott against California table grapes was ended. The results produced by César Chávez & Dolores Huerta and the members of the U.F.W. include health benefits for workers & their families, a credit union, and the first union contracts requiring rest periods, clean drinking water & protection against pesticide exposure.

        César continued his nonviolent protest work, organizing strikes & boycotts for higher wages and against illegal immigration & toxic pesticides. In 1991, Mexico gave César Chávez the Aguila Azteca Award. César Chávez died on 23 April 1993 of unspecified natural causes in San Luis, Arizona. Thirty-five thousand people attended his funeral in Delano, California.
         His birthday is celebrated in California as a state holiday, with lesser holidays enacted in Texas, Arizona & Colorado. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, by President Clinton in 1994; a U.S. commemorative stamp was issued in 2003 {image below}.

César Chávez entry at Wikipedia
Cesar E. Chavez Institute at S.F.S.U.
Cesar E. Chavez Foundation



Works by César Chávez

browse books by Cesar Chavez

The Words of Cesar Chavez   "The Words of Cesar Chavez" [2002]
Edited by Richard J. Jensen & John C. Hammerback

Texas A&M Univ Press 9x6 pb [5/2002] for $19.95
Texas A&M Univ Press 9½x6½ hardcover [5/2002] out of print/scarce
Speeches by Cesar Chavez   "An Organizer's Tale: Speeches" [2008]
by Cesar Chavez; edited & Introduction by Ilan Stavans

Penguin Classics 7¾x5 pb [4/2008] for $12.00



Works About César Chávez

browse books about Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez Autobiography of La Causa  "Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa" [1975]
by Jacques Levy [1927–2004]

Univ MN Press 9x6 pb [8/2007] for $14.96
W.W. Norton hardcover [9/75] out of print/used
Cesar Chavez / Triumph of Spirit  "César Chávez: A Triumph of Spirit" [1995]
by Richard Griswold del Castillo & Richard A. Garcia

Univ OK Press 8½x5½ pb [9/97] for $16.95
Univ OK Press 9x6 hardcover [9/95] out of print/used
Farmworker's Friend / Cesar Chavez  "Farmworker's Friend: The Story of Cesar Chavez" [ages 9-12; 1996]
by David R. Collins

CarolRhoda Books 9x6¾ pb [8/96] for $8.95
Topeka Bindery 9x6¾ library hardcover [12/2003] for $13.22
CarolRhoda Books 9¼x7¼ hardcover [8/96] for $31.93
Cesar Chavez Photo-Illustrated Biography  "Cesar Chavez: A Photo-Illustrated Biography" [ages 4-8; 1997]
by Lucile Davis

Capstone Press 8x8 pb [8/99] for $6.75
Bridgestone Books 8½x8¼ library hardcover [9/97] for $18.60
Rhetorical Career of Cesar Chavez  "The Rhetorical Career of César Chávez" [1998]
by John C. Hammerback & Richard J. Jensen

Texas A&M Univ Press 9x6 pb [8/2003] for $17.95
Texas A&M Univ Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [5/98] for $35.96
Elegy on the Death of Cesar Chavez   "Elegy On The Death of César Chávez" [YA 2000]
by Rudolfo Anaya, with illustrations by Gaspar Enriquez

Cinco Puntos Press 8x6½ pb [4/2004] for $8.95
Cinco Puntos Press hardcover [10/2000] for $16.95
Remembering Cesar Chavez   "Remembering Cesar: The Legacy of Cesar Chavez" [2000]
Compiled by Ann McGregor, edited by Cindy Wathen, photographs by George Elfie Ballis

45 contributors, including Jerry Brown, Henry Cisneros, Coretta Scott King, Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Edward James Olmos, and Martin Sheen, and lesser-known folk – members of the Chavez family, U.F.W. staff, and individual farmworkers
Quill Driver Books hardcover [12/2000] for $19.75
Moral Vision of Cesar Chavez  
"The Moral Vision of César Chávez" [2003]
by Frederick John Dalton

Orbis Books 9x6 pb [2/2003] for $15.00
Cesar Chavez / Hero for Everyone  
"Cesar Chavez: A Hero For Everyone" [ages 9-12; 2003]
by Xicano poet Gary Soto, illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter

Milestone/Aladdin 7½x5¼ pb [9/2003] for $3.99
Topeka Bindery 7½x5 library hardcover [9/2003] for $10.50
author's official website
Harvesting Hope   "Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez" [grades 3-6; 2003]
by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Harcourt Children's Books 9x11 hardcover [3/2003] for $11.56
"Cosechando Esperanza: La Historia de Cesar Chavez" [2004]
Libros Viajeros 9x11 Spanish-language pb [8/2004] for $7.00
Cesar Chavez biography by Roger Bruns  
"Cesar Chavez: A Biography" [2005]
by Roger Bruns

Greenwood Press 9½x6 hardcover [9/2005] for $31.95
Cesar Chavez graphic biography  "César Chávez" (Graphic Biographies) [ages 9-12; 2005]
by Elizabeth Hudson-Goff, Kerri O'Hern & Jonatha A. Brown; illustrated by D. McHargue

Gareth Stevens Publng 9½x7¼ pb [12/2005] for $8.95
Gareth Stevens Publng library hardcover [12/2005] for $26.60
American Workers Series Cesar Chavez  "American Workers Series: Cesar Chavez" [2007]
by Jeff C. Young

Morgan Reynolds Publng 9x6¼ library hardcover [4/2007] for $27.95
Cesar Chavez / Struggle For Justice  "César Chávez: The Struggle For Justice - La Lucha por La Justicia"
[grades 2-4; 2008] large-sized bilingual picture-book by Richard Griswold del Castillo, translated by Jose Juan Colin, illustrated by Anthony Accardo

Arte Publico / Pinata Books 11x8½ pb [2/2008] for $7.95
Cesar Chavez & The Common Sense of Nonviolence  "Cesar Chavez and The Common Sense of Nonviolence" [2008]
by José-Antonio Orosco

Univ NM Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [4/2008] for $24.95
Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers book by Frank Bardacke  "Trampling Out The Vintage: Cesar Chavez and The Two Souls of The United Farm Workers" [2011] by Frank Bardacke
winner of the 2012 Hillman Prize in Book Journalism
Kindle Edition from Verso [10/2012] for $19.22  
Verso 9¼x6¼ pb [10/2012] for $23.07  
Verso 9¼x6 hardcover [10/2011] for $35.54



Plays, Motion Pictures, Other Media

"Stories of Cesar Chavez" one-man show
developed & performed by Fred Blanco [since 2004]

"Chicano! The History of The Mexican-American Civil Rights Movement"
[P.B.S. / Galán Prodns documentary April 1996]
Chicano History PBS-TV documentary  Produced by Hector Galán; narrated by Henry Cisneros; won Nosotros Golden Eagle Award
video/DVD not available
full credits from IMDbproducer website
Chicano History book   companion book [1996] by Francisco Arturo Rosales
Arte Publico Press 11x8½ pb [9/97] for $16.04
Arte Publico Press 11½x9¼ hardcover [3/96] out of print/used

one of the books banned in January 2012 by the Tucson, Arizona Unified School District

"The Fight In The Fields: Cesar Chavez & The Farmworkers' Struggle"
[I.T.V.S./P.B.S. documentary April 1997]
Fight In The Fields PBS docu film  Co-produced, co-written & co-directed by Rick Tejada-Flores & Ray Telles; interviewees include Jerry Brown, Helen Chavez, Paul Chavez, Richard Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Ethel Kennedy, Roger Cardinal Mahony, Arturo Rodríguez, Linda Chávez Rodríguez & Luis Valdez, with archive footage of Cesar Chavez & Robert F. Kennedy
videos/DVDs not available at Amazon or B&N (2008)
full credits from IMDbPBS official movie site
The Fight In The Fields book  "The Fight In The Fields: Cesar Chavez & The Farmworkers Movement"
[1997] by Susan Ferriss & Ricardo Sandoval, edited by Diana Hembree

includes a Foreword by Gary Soto & guest essays by Rudolfo Anaya, Delores Huerta, Peter Matthiessen, Carey McWilliams, Alfredo Véa Jr. and Victor Villaseńor
HBJ/Harvest 9x7½ pb [4/98] for $10.88
Harcourt 9x7½ hardcover [5/97] out of print/many used

"Cesar Chavez" [Pantelion/Participant Media March 2014?]  
Cesar Chavez biopic 2014  Announced 3/2010: Larry Meli and screenwriter Keir Pearson are producing a biopic about Cesar Chávez, the 60s-70s’ Mexican-American social activist, which will focus on Chávez’s leadership of the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history; director Diego Luna’s Mexico-based Canana Films will film in Sonora, Mexico; tagline: "History is made one step at a time" Directed by Diego Luna; written by Keir Pearson & Timothy J. Sexton; starring Michael Peńa {as Cesar Chavez}, America Ferrera {as Helen Chavez}, Rosario Dawson {as Dolores Huerta}, John Malkovich, Gabriel Mann, Jacob Vargas, Lisa Brenner, Yancey Arias, Jack Holmes {as Sen. Robert F. Kennedy}, Natalia Weaver, Jaset Barradas & Dennis Ford, with archive footage of Cesar Chavez, Richard Nixon & Ronald Reagan
DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
full credits at IMDbofficial movie sitewatch official trailer [2:20] at YouTube


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U.F.W.  &  co-founder  Dolores  Huerta
portrait of labor organizer Dolores Huerta (red dress)   
portrait of labor organizer Dolores Huerta (black dress) in 2012   
        Dolores Clara Fernandez Head Huerta was born 10 April 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico and raised in Stockton, California. In 1955, she co-founded the Sacramento chapter of the Community Service Organization, and in 1962 co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with César Chávez, which later became the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee and still later, the U.F.W.
        She has been arrested twenty-two times for participating in non-violent civil disobedience activities and strikes. In September 1988, she was severely beaten by San Francisco police officers during a peaceful & lawful protest in front of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel – a beating so severe that her spleen was removed in emergency surgery. The beating was caught on video-tape and broadcast widely on local television news; later, she won a large judgment against the S.F.P.D. and the City of San Francisco, and the proceeds were used to benefit farm workers.
        She has been married and divorced twice, and has 11 children.
        In 1993, Dolores Huerta was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame; also received the 1993 Eugene Debs Award from the Eugene V. Debs Foundation [est. 1962].
        President Barack Obama presented Dolores Huerta with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May, 2012.
Dolores Huerta entry at Wikipedia
The Dolores Huerta Foundation

official website of United Farm Workers union [AFL-CIO]

Story of the California Grape Strike  
"Delano: The Story of The California Grape Strike" [1967]
by John Gregory Dunne, new Foreword by Ilan Stavans

Univ CA Press 8x5½ pb [10/2007] for $14.36
FS&G hardcover[1/67] out of print/used
Dolores Huerta biography  "Dolores Huerta (Contemporary Hispanic Americans Series)" [1995]
by Frank Perez

Heinemann Library 9¼x6¼ pb [6/96] out of print/used
Heinemann Library 9½x6¼ hardcover [10/95] out of print/used
Huelga House mystery novel  "Huelga House" [2001 novel] by Bonnie Hearn (Hill)
A murder mystery set in Delano during the grape strike of 1965; the son of a grape grower infiltrates the farm-workers union to investigate the murder of his sister.
Salvo Press 8½x5¼ pb [7/2001] out of print/used
author's official website {broken 7/2008}
Nine Women Who Changed Modern America  "Lighting The Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America"
[2006 national bestseller] by Karenna Gore Schiff

The fascinating stories of nine influential women of the XXth Century: Dolores Huerta (Chapter 7), as well as Gretchen Buchenholz, Septima Clark, Virginia Durr, Alice Hamilton, Mother Jones, Frances Perkins, Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias & Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Miramax 9x6 pb [2/2007] for $12.21
Miramax 9¼x6 hardcover [2/2006] for $18.94



Image  Gallery

Cesar Chavez in the 1960s         'boycott grapes' button         'boycott grapes' Aztec-style poster         Cesar Chavez color portrait, circa 1980s        2003 U.S.P.S. 37˘ postage stamp honoring Cesar E. Chavez

Cesar Chavez cover of Time Magazine          Cesar Chavez - b&w portrait



L i n k s
Cesar E. Chavez Foundation
Cesar E. Chavez Institute at S.F.S.U.
The National Chavez Center [est. 2004] in Keene, California

National Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Campaign website
California's César Chávez State Holiday
Cesar Chavez Day in San Francisco, California [April 2008 = #8]

César Chávez entry at Wikipedia
César Chávez credits at Internet Movie Database
quotations of César Chávez
Cesar Chavez Pages at Library of Congress
Cesar Chavez Page at Las Culturas website
KS's bilingual 'Celebrating Cesar Chavez' fansite



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