As a child, César Chávez experienced the freedom and joy of growing up on his family’s farm in Yuma, Arizona. But the Great Depression brought hard times, and Chávez’s family was forced from their land into a life of migrant work. Throughout his youth and young adulthood, Chávez experienced the pain and suffering of farm labor and the cruelty of racism.
It was during these difficult times that a seed of determination was planted. Influenced by the principles of his parents and his religion, the ideals of his mentors and the study of successful civil rights leaders, Chávez developed a clear and uncompromising vision for change.
Chávez went on to found the first farm workers union. He worked to secure better pay, improved job safety, better living conditions and many other essential rights and protections for laborers. In turn, he became an inspiration to millions who continue the fight for justice and equality.
César Chávez at work in the community garden at La Paz in Keene, California by Cathy Murphy, 1976. Photo reprinted with permission of the César E. Chávez Foundation and Cathy Murphy.