Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa

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U of Minnesota Press, 1975 - Biography & Autobiography - 556 pages
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“[An] exceptionally interesting and intimate oral history . . . Against a background of motels and all-night cafés and strikes, the high relief in which the characters stand out is truly fascinating. Jacques Levy's biography of Chavez has unforgettable descriptive passages and fine photographs.” —The Nation

Mexican-American civil rights and labor activist Cesar Chavez (1927–1993), comes to life in this vivid portrait of the charismatic and influential fighter who boycotted supermarkets and took on corporations, the government, and the powerful Teamsters Union. Jacques E. Levy gained unprecedented access to Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union in writing this account of one of the most successful labor movements in history which can also serve as a guidebook for social and political change.

“[The] definitive work. The book's major contribution lies in its portrait of the man himself—deeply religious in an almost mystical fashion; a dedicated battler, but not a dedicated hater; a leader who not only will not ask, but will not allow his followers to make the sacrifices he has made.” —Publishers Weekly

“One of the heroic figures of our time.” —Senator Robert F. Kennedy

Jacques E. Levy (1927–2004), a prize-winning journalist, spent six years with Cesar Chavez researching and writing this book.

Fred Ross Jr. is a spokesperson for the Service Employees' International Union and the son of Fred Ross, Chavez's mentor.

Jacqueline Levy is the daughter of Jacques E. Levy and a high school science teacher in Sonoma County, California.

 

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Contents

SEEDS IN THE DESERT
1
Carving a Homestead
7
Either Drought or Flood
13
A Need for Faith
27
No Longer Free
35
UPROOTED AND ADRIFT
43
Get Out If You Can
50
Labor Contractors
61
To Be a Man Is to Suffer for Others
279
The Spirit of Martyrs
288
Perils and Pressures
294
The Eagle Is Flying
303
First Cracks in Delano
311
A Surrender and a Challenge
319
NEW FIELDS OLD ENEMIES July 30 1970November 1971
327
Message at a Wedding
329

Mired in Mendota
68
A Trail of Crops
75
Pachuco Days
81
My Education Starts
89
CRUSADERS IN THE BARRIOS
95
Are You a Communist?
103
Problems and Power
109
A Secret Trial
115
Negreroes
122
Oxnards Burning Issue
125
Getting the Proof
132
A Victory That Failed
138
I Resign
145
THE BIRTH OF THE UNION April 11962April 101966
149
The Power of Agribusiness
151
How Will We Eat?
157
We Begin to Grow
166
The Black Eagle Is Born
173
A Strike in the Roses
179
The Grape Strike Starts
182
Where Harassment Backfires
187
Recruiting Volunteers
195
National Spotlight
201
Pilgrimage to Sacramento
206
Schenley Signs a Contract
215
VICTORY IN THE VINEYARDS April 1966July 29 1970
219
Praying for DiGiorgio
221
A Question of Elections
228
A Merger and a Vote
239
The Arvin Story 2j 5 Teamster Coup
257
Boycott Grapes
263
The Power of Nonviolence
269
The Miracle of the Fast
272
A Secret Letter 33 7
337
A Fast That Failed
344
The True Teamster Position
352
Bedlam in Delano
358
War Is Declared
364
A Fork in the Road
372
Violence
382
Concentrate on Chiquita
389
Enter the Goons
396
Ambus
402
Clever Tactical Reasons
409
Forced to Boycott
416
Inside Salinas Jail
425
Secret Lettuce Talks
434
Book Vll TARGET FOR DESTRUCTION 1971May 1975
441
Assassination Plot
443
The Power of People
447
La Causa in Florida
453
Two Showdowns
463
Dangerous Alliances
470
Everything Is Going to Go to the Teamsters
475
A Pattern of Violence
485
Filling the Jails
495
Two Men Are Dead
504
Teamsters Go All Out
511
The Best Source of Hope Is the People
517
A Very Important Lesson
522
Surprise in Sacramento
527
Saying Yes to Mans Dignity
536
Hay Mas Tiempo Que Vida There Is More Time Than Life
541
Afterword Jacqueline M Levy
549
Index
551
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