Cesar Chavez by Anne E. Schraff

By Anne E. Schraff

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Extra info for Cesar Chavez

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Cesar Chavez insisted on complete nonviolence no matter what happened. To keep the strikers going without their paychecks, Chavez raised money at rallies around California. He appeared at the University of California, Berkeley. The college students donated generously. Help came from many different sources. One dairy donated a hundred dozen eggs a week. A meat packing plant gave forty pounds of hamburger each Saturday. Bakeries donated day-old bread and rolls. However, the grape strike was not succeeding.

Chavez also started a union newspaper, El Malcriado. El malcriado means “the brat,” and the paper cried out against injustices. Cesar Chavez’s first big challenge was with the grape growers of Delano, California. Grape workers there earned about a dollar an hour. Their average yearly income was $1,500. At the time, the poverty level in the United States had been set at $3,000 a year for a family. On many grape ranches, there were no toilets in the fields. Workers had to pay for drinking water. Dangerous chemicals were 32 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 33 frequently sprayed on the vineyards while workers were present.

Over the next decades, Linda Chavez Rodriguez and her husband traveled throughout California and the nation. They were carrying out her father's cause. In 1993 Cesar Chavez was called to Yuma, Arizona, to help UFWOC 51 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 52 workers defend a lawsuit stemming from the lettuce boycott. Lettuce and vegetable grower Bruce Church, Inc. demanded the union pay large sums of money because of the money they lost during the boycott. The lawsuit asked for millions of dollars in damages.

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