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Chavez in 1974
César Estrada Chávez|
March 31, 1927
Yuma, Arizona, U.S.
April 23, 1993 (aged 66)|
San Luis, Arizona, U.S.
Cesar Chavez (born César Estrada Chávez, local pronunciation: [ˈsesaɾ esˈtɾaða ˈtʃaβes]; March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American farmworker, labor leader and civil rights activist. Chávez started the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) along with Dolores Huerta. He wanted equal rights for Mexicans working in the United States. This union became the United Farm Workers. He led a boycott against grape companies to gain rights for workers. Chávez used nonviolence to make these changes. Chavez is thought of as one of the leaders in the movement for Chicanos to gain more rights in the late-20th century.
Chávez was born near Yuma, Arizona and went to over 65 schools,[source?] but he did not graduate. He did most of his organizing in California, especially near Bakersfield. Fred Ross taught him to lead unions. Fred Ross was a student of Saul Alinsky.
In 1965, Chávez and the NFWA started a strike for grape-pickers in California. At the same time, he asked Americans to boycott grapes from California. In 1970, the migrant workers won their fight for better pay.
He kept working against unfair labor rules. He stopped eating in protest three times because of low pay and bad working conditions. When he died, he was leading another grape boycott to stop the use of pesticides.
Chávez is respected in California and other states. In 2000, California's state legislature started a holiday to honor him. The holiday is on March 31, Chávez's birthday. This is the first time that a US public holiday honored a Mexican American or a union leader. Many cities have streets or places named for him. These cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, and Salt Lake City. In 1998 he was inducted into the Hall of Honor by the United States Department of Labor.
- "Hall of Honor Inductee César Chávez". U.S. Department of Labor. 2014. http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/hallofhonor/1998_chavez.htm. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "The Story of Cesar Chavez", United Farmworker's official biography of Chavez.
- César E. Chávez Chronology, County of Los Angeles Public Library.
- Five Part Series on Cesar Chavez, Los Angeles Times, Kids' Reading Room Classic, October 2000.
- "The study of history demands nuanced thinking", Miriam Pawel from the Austin American-Statesman, 2009/7/17. A caution that histories of Chavez and the UFW should not be hagiography, nor be suppressed, but taught "wiktionary:warts and all"
- The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworker's Struggle, PBS Documentary.
- Farmworker Movement Documentation Project
- New York Times obituary, April 24, 1993
- Walter P. Reuther Library – President Clinton presents Helen Chavez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1994