About this Famous Person

Cesar CHAVEZ

American Cesar CHAVEZ

born Cesario Estrada CHAVEZ

American labor leader, community organizer, businessman, and Latino American civil rights activist

Source :  Mary CUMMINS

Born: on March 31, 1927 in Yuma, Arizona, United States
Died: on April 23, 1993 in San Luis, Arizona, United States


Biography

Along with Dolores Huerta, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), which later merged to become the United Farm Workers (UFW) labor union. Ideologically, his world-view combined leftist politics with Roman Catholic social teachings.

Born in Yuma, Arizona, to a Mexican American family, Chavez began his working life as a manual laborer before spending two years in the United States Navy. Relocating to California, where he married, he got involved in the Community Service Organization (CSO), through which he helped laborers register to vote. In 1959, he became the CSO's national director, a position based in Los Angeles. In 1962, he left the CSO to co-found the NFWA, based in Delano, California, through which he launched an insurance scheme, credit union, and the El Malcriado newspaper for farmworkers. Later that decade he began organizing strikes among farmworkers, most notably the successful Delano grape strike of 1965–1970. Amid the grape strike his NFWA merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to form the UFW in 1967. Influenced by the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Chavez emphasized direct but nonviolent tactics, including pickets and boycotts, to pressure farm owners into granting strikers' demands. He imbued his campaigns with Roman Catholic symbolism, including public processions, masses, and fasts. Receiving much support from labor and leftist groups, he was monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

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