Who was César Chávez? Here, an essay and photographs restore this man to his place in American history.The real César Chávez got lost in the hoopla. Many think he was a Mexican boxer. Young people think he’s that guy on the stamp or that statue in the park. No wonder it’s difficult, especially for our young people, to understand his human complexities and the struggles to which he gave his life.Esteemed Latin American scholar and writer Ilan Stavans, supported by more than forty photographs from archival collections at the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, restores this man’s humanity so that readers can understand his struggles as a labor organizer and civil rights activist for farm workers. The book discusses his growing up and his family; his comadre Dolores Huerta, who stood with him from the beginning; his relationship with Dr. King and other activists in the broader struggles for civil rights for all people of color; and his insistence on being an activist for the rights of farm workers when so much media attention was given to the civil rights activists in the cities.Ilan Stavans is a nationally respected Jewish Latino writer and scholar. His story “Morirse está en hebreo” was made into the award-winning movie My Mexican Shivah, produced by John Sayles. His books include An Organizer’s Tale (Penguin Classics, 2008), Dictionary Days (Graywolf Press), The Disappearance (TriQuarterly), and Resurrecting Hebrew (Random House). Stavans has received numerous awards, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Latino Book Award, and Chile’s Presidential Medal. He is a professor in Latin American culture at Amherst College.
Cesar Chavez is known as one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farmworkers. But Cesar wasn’t always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family slaved in the fields for barely enough money to survive.
Cesar knew things had to change, and he thought that–maybe–he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened.
An author’s note provides historical context for the story of Cesar Chavez’s life.
An enlightening biography for young adults of a little-known female activist in the Hispanic Civil Rights Movement On December 9, 1969, change was in the air. The small town of Crystal City, Texas would never be the same. After weeks of petitioning for a hearing with the Crystal City school board, students of Crystal City High and their parents descended on the superintendent’s office. The students had been threatened with suspension and even physical violence. Powerful members of the community had insisted they would fire the parents of students if they went in front of the school board, and still, they came. Finally, the school board removed the chairs in the gallery, and the parents and students stood until members of the school board fled to avoid the confrontation. As the students and their parents stood in front of the building, a cry rose from the crowd. “Walk out. Walk out.” So began the Crystal City High student walk out. At the center of the fervor was Severita Lara. Called la cabezuda, or stubborn girl, by her mother, Lara bore the mark of a leader from an early age. She was not afraid to stand up to anyone: girls or boys, teachers or superintendents. She always followed her father’s advice, “If you know it’s right, do it.” José Angel Gutiérrez, the famous civil rights leader, chronicle’s Lara’s ascent from a willful child to the mayor of Crystal City. From her father’s doting support to her mother’s steel-rod discipline, Gutiérrez offers a detailed portrait of the early family life of the woman whose continuing struggle against segregation and discrimination began while she was still a high school student in Crystal City. He also follows her attempts as a single mother to achieve her dream of being a doctor and providing for her sons. This is the story of la cabezuda, Severita Lara, who has made an indelible imprint on American history.
Born in 1944, José Angel Gutiérrez grew up in a time when Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Texas and the Southwest attended separate schools and avoided public facilities and restaurants that were designated “Whites Only.” Despite the limits of segregation and rural culture in Texas, the passion to learn and to educate others, as well as to undo injustice, burned in his belly from an early age. Gutiérrez offers portraits of his early influences, from his father’s own pursuit of knowledge and political involvement, to his Mexican pre-school teacher’s dedication to bilingual-bicultural education which did not exist in public schools at that time, and to his mother’s courage and persistence, taking up migrant field work to provide for her family after the death of young Gutiérrez’s father. In this intensely narrated memoir, Gutiérrez details his rise from being beaten down by racist political and agricultural interests in South Texas to his leadership role in the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Complemented by photos from his personal archives, Gutiérrez recalls his struggle for education, his early baptism in grass-roots political organizing, and his success in creating one of history’s most successful third party movements, La Raza Unida Party. Along the way, Gutiérrez earned college and law degrees, as well as a Ph. D. in Political Science. He was elected or appointed to school boards, commissions, judgeships and party chairmanships, all with the single-minded purpose of extending equality to Mexican Americans and other minorities in the United States. Through his tireless efforts, he crossed paths with African American and Native American civil rights leaders, Mexican presidents, and other international figures.
Bayard Rustin dedicated his life to helping others—fighting injustices and discriminations—so that people could live as one. Protesting segregation long before there was a civil rights movement, he often was arrested for his beliefs and actions. As a nonviolent activist, Bayard made his mark working alongside many African American leaders, notably A. Philip Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr. As an organizer, Bayard was largely responsible for bringing people together to walk for freedom and jobs in Washington, D.C., on that memorable summer day, August 28, 1963. With style and careful attention to history, Larry Dane Brimner captures a story of passion, courage, and triumph through Bayard’s own words and archival photographs in this Jane Addams Children’s Book Award winner.
Profiles the Mexican American labor leader who helped create the United Farm Workers union to protect the rights of migrant agricultural laborers.
The last place in North America where black people and white people could not sit down together to share a cup of coffee in a restaurant was not in the Deep South. It was in the small, sleepy Ontario town of Dresden, the site of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.