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César E. Chávez in San Antonio

March 19, 2020

Beginning in 2014 on March 31, César E. Chávez Day has been designated a federal commemorative holiday in honor of the civil rights activist and labor leader.  Cities across the country celebrate his legacy through community service and educational programs. Since 1997, the City of San Antonio has memorialized Chávez’s work with the annual César E. Chávez March for Justice.

While Chávez began working in California in the 1950s to improve the conditions and pay of agricultural workers, it was not until 1968 that he received national attention.  It was then that Chávez, as leader of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), called for a national boycott of California table grape growers.  The following year, Chávez made his first public appearance in San Antonio to enlist local support.  From then until a year before his death in 1993, Chávez made return visits to speak, lead marches, and participate in strikes to bring attention to the plight of workers.  These are photographs of some of those visits in our San Antonio Express-News and the San Antonio Light Collections.

 

César E. Chávez announces to a crowd in the Kennedy High School gymnasium that Centeno Supermarkets will take part in the California grape boycott, November 29, 1969. (San Antonio Express-News Collection: E-0018-197)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chávez is applauded before a talk sponsored by the San Antonio Friends of the Farm Workers. Among those in attendance, standing to the right of him, are Judge Albert Peña, Jr., and Bishop Raymundo Peña, July 26, 1979. (San Antonio Express-News Collection: E-0056-027-08)

 

Chávez pickets beside West Commerce Street, a short distance from City Hall, December 10, 1979.  (San Antonio Express-News Collection: E-0059-031-36)

Chávez pickets beside West Commerce Street, a short distance from City Hall, December 10, 1979.  (San Antonio Express-News Collection: E-0059-031-36)

Marchers of all ages move along city streets to a NFWA rally, July 30, 1990. (San Antonio Light Collection: L-7183-23-10)

 

Crowd waits for Chávez to speak at a rally outside H-E-B Headquarters on South Main Avenue, July 30, 1990.  (San Antonio Light Collection:  L-7183-23-03)

 

Chávez speaks to a crowd gathered a block from the boulevard that now bears his name, July 30, 1990.  (San Antonio Light Collection:  L-7183-23-07)

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandra Merrifield permalink
    March 23, 2020 2:22 pm

    What a wonderful article, Tom, with great photographs. Thank you so much. Made my day. Will pass on.

  2. March 24, 2020 12:19 pm

    Reblogged this on stillness of heart.

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