Civil Right Movement: The Role Of Cesar Chavez

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Cesar Chavez, born on March 31, 1927 later died in San Luis on April 23, 1993. He was the first person to create a successful farm labor union. During the time he was creating a successful farm union he came across two obstacles. One obstacle was the California agriculture business. The second obstacle was the farm workers themselves. Cesar Chavez farm movement is a Civil Right Movement.

The first challenge was California’s undying agriculture business opposition. agriculture business is the biggest industry in California, which was a virulent obstacle to unionization. It has a long history of effectively suppressing efforts to rally farm workers through repression by law enforcement, arrests and jail sentences, anti-communist smear campaigns, widespread strikebreaker importation, and flooding the labor market with temporary worker-type bracero services. In 1962 Delano Las Vegas, the area where Cesar started his campaign, the agriculture business farmers in the Central Valley dominated local law enforcement agencies, community courts, politicians, local press, school districts, trade associations, even main churches. The largest employers in the Valley were farmers and agricultural companies.

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The second challenge was the farm workers ‘ own fear and impotence. The agricultural business workforce of California is made up of immigrants including foreign nationals who travel long distances all around the state to follow the crop harvests and seasons. Farm workers are particularly resistant to unionization because they depend entirely on jobs made available to them, and farmers control these jobs, not the union; workers earn poor wages and see no financial benefit in paying union, especially when there are no state contracts in place. There is no scientifically proven reason for agricultural workers to assume that a national government will prevail over farmers; harvest strikes have never been successful in achieving union acknowledgement; workers who sign union authorization or campaign for a union are routinely fired; workers are not covered by federal or state labor law protections also racial separation of farm workers by different types of harvesting and non-harvesting work creates mistrust, envy, and hostility among the workers. Cesar Chavez’s dedication to the ideals of anti-violence has become the pillar of his movement’s success. The agriculture business of California had a long and difficult history of suppressing any attempt to organize farm workers, and it was ready to do so in 1965. But the public adoption of anti-violence by the union has changed the historical equation of the farmer-worker slightly. The natural tendency of strikers and organizers to fight back was kept under control, and investors were cautious to use brute force to stop the strike. Farm workers felt it might have been secure to pay union dues without fear for their jobs, and volunteers rallied to Delano with a sense of social safety mostly the university students. Due to Cesar’s widely publicized anti-violence commitment, churches and religious groups have been inclined to react positively to his organization, and many have done so.

Following the passage of the Agricultural Employee relations Act and the hundreds of election results that accompanied, Cesar became convinced that his dream was frustrated and jeopardized by these unmanageable incidents, and even worse, some of his strongest supporters seriously questioned his leadership by promoting adjustments including replacing the voluntary system with paid workers. And the establishment of full-blown local farm workers ‘ unions. He sought to protect the truth of his dream as he saw it, nothing, as cruel as his actions may be seen by some. He had no need to explain his actions, and made no effort to do just that, but to start accusing a few of his main supporters due to various their ulterior motives of jeopardizing his organization.

Luís Valdez is considered the father of Chicano theater in the United States. He created the plays: Zoot Suit, his movie La Bamba, and his creation of El Teatro Campesino. The Chicano Movement widen Luis Valdez perspective of theater and arts. El Teatro Campesino was the symbol for the United farm workers and the Chicano movement. The play is about the historical struggles and challenges of the Mexican Americans through documentaries and footage. It’s a message about the true history of Mexican Americans in the United States. The struggles of being a Mexican American in the United States date back to the Spanish Discovery of the New World in 1492. Many years later Mexicans have experienced social injustice and discrimination and the native people the land have constantly failed to notice the problem. ‘…the main goals shaping Spanish colonial policy were to maintain and expand political control and to convert Indians to Christianity.’ (Vargas p.30).

Such underlying values of brutality and abuse of Mexican Americans and the Anglo perception of Spaniards ‘unusually cruel, a various, treacherous, fanatical, superstitious, cowardly, corrupt, decadent, indolent, and authoritarian’ (Weber p.336) you could see them in ‘Los Vendidos.’ Using Mexican characters in the symbolic play ‘Los Vendidos,’ Luis Valdez used his theater platform as more of a weapon to communicate against Mexican prejudices as well as their impact on society, because each person had a label against prejudices at the time. The Mexicans understand if no action has been taken, several identities will also be formed and racism will continue, and people’s philosophies will be refreshed only as society evolves. Glass visage states that Miss Jimenez, whom arrives to a used car dealership to search of a Latino for the administration of Governor Reagan, believes that they were not worthy and reflects the similar mentality to certain people if they see a color the skin or hear their accent. The author claims most people have made decisions and sometimes at the moment they don’t know it. Valdez understood that Latinos were struggling with this racism, yet it didn’t mean that they were willing to accept it, therefore the characters portrayed the absence of logic and reason behind people’s emotions in this way. Luis Valdez create the play to make people realize what they are doing is wrong it is to judge and hopefully they will change the way they treat people.

Despite American racism and racial discrimination in general, as well as many other Hispanic immigrants who demean them due to their dark skin, short height, and ‘primitive’ culture, they have seemed to adjust very easily in the United States. People that are in the social capital and the social networks are influenced through the social and economic incorporation of Mexican migrants. Once they arrive they struggle to find job once they do they are getting paid with low wages and that is not enough raising a family and try to move ahead in life. Mexican count on social networks, family ties, and communities to be able to find jobs. While they are doing that it eventually strengthens their community, environment and social. El Teatro Campesino is a theater of farm workers from California, where Luis Valdez inspired young Chicano activists across the country to use theater. In 1965 Luis Valdez joined Cesar Chavez on his mission to help farm workers into a union. For many decades Luis Valdez has dramatized the political and cultural concerns of the Latinos. Originally with the workers the workers families and their supporters. Later with among students in universities and through television, stage, and film. “Teatro must never get away from La Raza… if the Raza will not come to the theater, then the theater must go to the Raza. This, in the long run, will determine the shape, style, content, spirit and form of el teatro Chicano.”   


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