Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Movement
by Roger Bruns
May 2011, 186pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38650-3
$43, £34, 38€, A59
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38651-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Led by a relatively penniless young farm worker named Cesar Chavez, the farm workers movement still inspires a sense of pride and purpose among Latinos fighting for personal rights, political power, and economic well-being. Many of the young volunteers in the farm workers movement continue to fight for progressive causes today. Just who was Chavez and what motivated him to say, “enough”?

This book offers an illuminating story of how social and political change can sometimes result from the vision, leadership, and commitment of a few dedicated individuals determined not to fail.

Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Movement chronicles the drive for a union of one of American society’s most exploited groups. It is a story of courage and determination, set against the backdrop of the 1960s, a time of assassinations, war protests, civil rights battles, and reform efforts for poor and minority citizens.

American farm workers were men and women on labor’s last rung, living in desperate and inhumane conditions, poisoned by pesticides, and making a pittance for back-breaking work. The book shows how these migrant workers found a champion in Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union. With the help of quotes from documentary material only recently made available, it tells the story of the boycotts, marches, and strikes—including hunger strikes—used to force concessions for better conditions and pay. It also shows how the farm workers movement helped set the stage for growing Latino cultural awareness and political power.


  • Interviews, speeches, congressional testimony, diary entries, and firsthand recollections from the early 1960s to the present
  • Profiles of men and women who played important leadership roles in the farm workers movement
Roger Bruns is a historian and former deputy executive director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives in Washington, DC. He is the author of many books, including Icons of Latino America: Latino Contributions to American Culture; Preacher: Billy Sunday and Big-Time American Evangelism; and Almost History: Close Calls, Plan B's, and Twists of Fate in America's Past. He has written several biographies for young readers on such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., John Wesley Powell, and Thomas Jefferson.
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