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The legacy of Cesar Chávez: 4 surprising facts about the activist

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The legacy of Cesar Chávez (Photo: Getty Images)
  • The life of organizer and activist César Chávez.
  • Learn about his legacy as founder of United Farm Workers.
  • We have 4 surprising facts about this inspirational figure.

The legacy of César Chávez forever changed how farmers are viewed. Thanks to him, the United Farm Workers was created and made changes to ensure safe working conditions for all farm workers, although this did not come without a struggle.

Many of César Chávez’s actions generated harsh criticism because the methods he used to fight for the dignity of farm workers were seen as discriminatory towards the undocumented. Despite this, he is seen as one of the most important figures in the civil rights movement.

WHO WAS CESAR CHAVEZ?

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Photo: Les Lee/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Cesario Estrada Chávez was an activist and union leader born in Yuma, Arizona on March 31, 1927. Belonging to a Mexican-American family, the activist’s life was marked by numerous struggles, both personal and political.

While alive, he managed to end the Bracero Program, in which the United States imported Mexican labor to work in the fields. Over time, the fight for decent working conditions led César Chávez to become a strong defender of labor rights, which eventually led to the formation of the United Farm Workers, one of his greatest achievements.

HIS CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE

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César Chávez was born into a Mexican-American family who worked mainly on farms. After the Great Depression, his father lost practically all the money he had, a fact that forced the entire family to dedicate themselves exclusively to farm labor. Faced with this, Chávez decided to drop out of school in order to prevent his mother from having to do this hard work.

Perhaps one of the darkest stages of his life was when he joined the United States Navy, thinking that he could acquire new skills to earn more money. However, he said that the years he spent there were the darkest of his entire existence. Since then, he has taken the reins of his role as an activist working for the rights of farm workers.

HIS WORK AS AN ACTIVIST

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Getty Images

The legacy of César Chávez includes the permanent termination of the Bracero Program, with which the United States imported Mexican labor to work in the fields. His main goal was to get better wages and working conditions for American farm workers belonging to the union, but this also generated some protests.

One of his most controversial actions was to call for a demonstration against the illegal crossing of workers on the US-Mexico border and although he is currently considered one of the greatest defenders of labor rights, at that time his actions resulted in the persecution and discrimination of undocumented workers.

CÉSAR CHÁVEZ’S LEGACY

United Farm Workers, Cesar Chavez, speech, California
Photo: Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images

César Chávez’s legacy includes better wages and working conditions for American farm workers, and to this day he is recognized as one of America’s most important activists. In life, he received major awards in honor of his work and, after his death, in 1993, he was awarded the Gandhi Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. .

Every March 31, the state of California celebrates César Chávez Day, and several schools in the country bear his name. He will forever be remembered as an icon of civil movements, leftist politics, and the fight for American farmworkers, who thanks to his efforts now enjoy better working conditions.

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