Cesar Chavez by Anne E. Schraff

By Anne E. Schraff

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53 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 54 So much was at stake. The UFWOC union was not wealthy. An award against it for millions of dollars would be devastating. Cesar Chavez was always willing to sacrifice himself for the union that he believed in so strongly. m. that night. He was reading a book about Native Americans. The book talked about how they were trying to market the products they made on the reservations. Chavez sympathized with them. They, like the farm workers he had defended, were often stuck in poverty.

He set up headquarters in his garage. He loaded his Mercury station wagon with sign up sheets. He took his son, Anthony, on some of the trips because there was nobody to leave the boy with. Helen Chavez was working. Sometimes, Chavez actually went from door to door and to gathering places where migrant workers could be found. Right away, he recruited a spirited young woman, Dolores Huerta. She deeply believed in the principles of justice. She had worked at the CSO with Chavez. She believed in his cause and became a strong force in the union.

He targeted one grower at a time. In December 1965 the AFL-CIO officially 36 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 37 endorsed the grape strike. It made a large donation to the workers’ strike fund. In March 1966 the United States Senate Subcommittee investigated the grape strike and held hearings in Delano. Senator Robert Kennedy of New York was a member of the subcommittee. He was very sympathetic to Chavez. During the hearings, Chavez and Kennedy became close friends At this time, a farm worker’s march to Sacramento began.

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