353. Cesar Chavez: The Voice of Equality
During the 1970s, one of the biggest movements
in the United States was the fight for
rights. Many members of American society felt disenfranchised
discriminated against, especially in the workplace. Some American
enjoyed a living wage complete with benefits and
advantages, while others struggled to earn enough to
. One of the most oppressed groups of workers
this time period was California farm workers.
workers were migrant workers who came into the
mostly without documentation to work in the fertile
of California's Great Central Valley. This region in
California has often been described as the country's
basket because of its rich soil and high
. Farm workers tended these fields during the day,
lived and slept on the farm at night.
earned less than the state's minimum wage, and
no fringe benefits other American workers enjoyed. Cesar
changed all that.
Cesar Chave, the Arizona-born civil-rights
and labor leader, became the voice of these
, and began a movement to bring basic rights
this group. Taking the lead from the great
. Martin Luther King Jr., Chavez began a series
non-violent demonstrations protesting the deplorable conditions farm workers
to endure. Many of these workers worked much
than eight hours a day, and received no
pay. Chavez, who was a farm worker himself
the 50s, led marches, and called for boycotts.
activities were very effective in changing the working
for farm workers and other oppressed workers.
highly recognized during his lifetime, and his legacy
after his death in 1993. He has reached
status among the Mexican-American community.