On March 31 of each year, we honor the birth and legacy of César Chávez, a Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist.
Chávez was born in 1927 to immigrant parents living in Arizona. After hardships faced during the Great Depression, his family left for California and for the next ten years they moved up and down the state as migrant farm workers. Chávez dropped out of school in the 7th grade in order to help support his family, and he continued to work in the fields until 1952. During this time he experienced things that he would spend the rest of his life trying to change including unsafe camp conditions, corrupt labor contractors, meager and unfair wages, and racism. He first became an organizer for a Latino civil rights group, the Community Service Organization, and later co-founded a labor union, the National Farm Workers Association, now called the United Farm Workers.
For the next thirty years, Chávez devoted himself to improving working conditions and raising salaries of field workers through organized labor and politics, and he became known for his use of nonviolent methods like marches, boycotts, and hunger strikes. Learn more about César Chávez and important aspects of his movement.