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  • Place of birth : Yuma
  • Date of birth : 31/03/1927
  • Place of death : San Luis
  • Date of death : 23/04/1993

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  • Chávez César

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César Chávez (1927)

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  Summary  

César Estrada Chávez (; March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers .

A Mexican American, Chávez became the best known Latino civil rights activist, and was strongly promoted by the American labor movement, which was eager to enroll Hispanic members. His public-relations approach to unionism and aggressive but nonviolent tactics made the farm workers' struggle a moral cause with nationwide support. By the late 1970s, his tactics had forced growers to recognize the UFW as the bargaining agent for 50,000 field workers in California and Florida. However, by the mid-1980s membership in the UFW had dwindled to around 15,000.

After his death he became a major historical icon for the Latino community, and for liberals generally, symbolizing militant support for workers and for Hispanic power based on grass roots organizing and his slogan "Sí, se puede" (Spanish for "Yes, it is possible" or, roughly, "Yes, it can be done"). His supporters say his work led to numerous improvements for union laborers. His birthday, March 31, has become César Chávez Day, a state holiday in three US states. Many parks, cultural centers, libraries, schools, and streets have been named in his honor in cities across the United States.

  Biography  

 early life
César Estrada Chávez was born on March 31, 1927 in Yuma, Arizona, in a Mexican-American family of six children. He had two brothers, Richard (1929–2011) and Librado, and two sisters, Rita and Vicki. He was named after his grandfather, Cesario. Chávez grew up in a small adobe home, the same home in which he was born. His family owned a grocery store and a ranch, but their land was lost during the Great Depression. The family's home was taken away after his father had agreed to clear eighty acres of land in exchange for the deed to the house, an agreement which was subsequently broken. Later when Cesar's father attempted to purchase the house, he could not pay the interest on the loan and the house was sold to its original owner. His family then moved to California to become migrant farm workers.

The Chávez family faced many hardships in California. The family would pick peas and lettuce in the winter, cherries and beans in the spring, corn and grapes in the summer, and cotton in the fall. When César was a teenager, he and his older sister Rita would help other farm workers and neighbors by driving those unable to drive to the hospital to see a doctor.

In 1942, Chavez graduated from eighth grade. It would be his final year of formal schooling, because he did not want his mother to have to work in the fields. Chavez dropped out to become a full-time migrant farm worker. In 1944 he joined the United States Navy at the age of seventeen and served for two years. Chávez had hoped that he would learn skills in the Navy that would help him later when he returned to civilian life, however he soon discovered that at the time Mexican-Americans in the Navy could only work as deckhands or painters. Later, Chávez described his experience in the military as “the two worst years of my life.” When Chávez returned home from his service in the military, he married his high school sweetheart, Helen Favela. The couple moved to San Jose, California, where they would have seven children: Fernando, Linda (1951–2000), Paul, Eloise, Sylvia and Anthony.

 death
Chávez died on April 23, 1993, of unspecified natural causes in a rental apartment in San Luis, Arizona. Shortly after his death, his widow, Helen Chávez, donated his black nylon union jacket to the National Museum of American History, a branch of the Smithsonian.

He is buried at the National Chavez Center, on the headquarters campus of the United Farm Workers of America , at 29700 Woodford-Tehachapi Road in the Keene community of unincorporated Kern County, California.

 legacy
There is a portrait of him in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

In 1973, college professors in Mount Angel, Oregon established the first four-year Mexican-American college in the United States. They chose César Chávez as their symbolic figurehead, naming the college Colegio Cesar Chavez. In the book Colegio Cesar Chavez, 1973-1983: A Chicano Struggle for Educational Self-Determination author Carlos Maldonado writes that Chávez visited the campus twice, joining in public demonstrations in support of the college. Though Colegio Cesar Chavez closed in 1983, it remains a recognized part of Oregon history. On its website the Oregon Historical Society writes, "Structured as a 'college-without-walls,' more than 100 students took classes in Chicano Studies, early childhood development, and adult education. Significant financial and administrative problems caused Colegio to close in 1983. Its history represents the success of a grassroots movement." The Colegio has been described as having been a symbol of the Latino presence in Oregon.

In 1992, Chávez was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award. It was named after a 1963 encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII that calls upon all people of good will to secure peace among all nations. Pacem in Terris is Latin for "Peace on Earth."

On September 8, 1994, Chávez was presented, posthumously, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. The award was received by his widow, Helen Chávez.

The California cities of Long Beach, Modesto, Sacramento, San Diego, Berkeley, and San Jose, California have renamed parks after him, as well as the City of Seattle, Washington. In Amarillo, Texas a bowling alley has been renamed in his memory. In Los Angeles, César E. Chávez Avenue, originally two separate streets , extends from Sunset Boulevard and runs through East Los Angeles and Monterey Park. In San Francisco, César Chávez Street, originally named Army Street, is named in his memory. At San Francisco State University the student center is also named after him. The University of California, Berkeley, has a César E. Chávez Student Center, which lies across Lower Sproul Plaza from the Martin Luther King, Jr., Student Union. California State University San Marcos's Chavez Plaza includes a statue to Chávez. In 2007, The University of Texas at Austin unveiled its own César Chávez Statue on campus. Fresno named an adult school, where a majority percent of students' parents or themselves are, or have been, field workers, after Chávez. In Austin, Texas, one of the central thoroughfares was changed to César Chávez Boulevard. In Ogden, Utah, a four-block section of 30th Street was renamed Cesar Chavez Street. In Oakland, there is a library named after him and his birthday, March 31, is a district holiday in remembrance of him. On July 8, 2009, the city of Portland, Oregon, changed the name of 39th Avenue to Cesar Chavez Boulevard. In 2003, the United States Postal Service honored him with a postage stamp. The largest flatland park in Phoenix Arizona is named after Chavez. The park features Cesar Chavez Branch Library and a life-sized statue of Chavez by artist Zarco Guerrero. In April, 2010, the city of Dallas, Texas changed street signage along the downtown street-grade portion of Central Expressway, renaming it for Chávez; part of the street passes adjacent to the downtown Dallas Farmers Market complex. El Paso has a controlled-access highway, the portion of Texas Loop 375 running beside the Rio Grande, called the Cesar Chavez Border Highway; also in El Paso, the alternative junior-senior high school in the Ysleta Independent School District is named for Chavez. Las Cruces, New Mexico has an elementary school named for Cesar Chavez as well.


In 2004, the National Chavez Center was opened on the UFW national headquarters campus in Keene by the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation. It currently consists of a visitor center, memorial garden and his grave site. When it is fully completed, the site will include a museum and conference center to explore and share Chávez's work. On September 14, 2011, the U.S. Department of the Interior added the Nuestra Senora Reina de La Paz ranch to the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2005, a César Chávez commemorative meeting was held in San Antonio, honoring his work on behalf of immigrant farmworkers and other immigrants. Chavez High School in Houston is named in his honor, as is Cesar E. Chavez High School in Delano, California. In Davis, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Bakersfield, California and Madison, Wisconsin there are elementary schools named after him in his honor. In Davis, California, there is also an apartment complex named after Chávez which caters specifically to low-income residents and people with physical and mental disabilities. In Racine, Wisconsin, there is a community center named The Cesar Chavez Community Center also in his honor. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the business loop of I-196 Highway is named "Cesar E Chavez Blvd." The American Friends Service Committee nominated him three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

On December 6, 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted César Chávez into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts.

César Chávez's eldest son, Fernando Chávez, and grandson, Anthony Chávez, each tour the country, speaking about his legacy.

Chávez was referenced by Stevie Wonder in the song "Black Man," from the album Songs in the Key of Life, and by Tom Morello in the song "Union Song," from the album One Man Revolution.

On May 18, 2011, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the Navy would be naming the last of 14 Lewis and Clark-class cargo ships after Cesar Chavez.

 César Chávez Day

César Chávez's birthday, March 31, is celebrated in California as a state holiday, intended to promote service to the community in honor of Chávez's life and work. Many, but not all, state government offices, community colleges, and libraries are closed. Many public schools in the state are also closed. Texas also recognizes the day, and it is an optional holiday in Arizona and Colorado. Although it is not a federal holiday, the President proclaims March 31 as César Chávez Day in the United States, with Americans being urged to "observe this day with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez's enduring legacy."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "César Chávez", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.