Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution
In the summer of 1968 Peter Matthiessen met Cesar Chavez for the first time. They were the same age: forty-one. Matthiessen lived in New York City while Chavez lived in Sal Si Puedes, the San Jose barrio where his career as a union organizer took off. This book is Matthiessen's panoramic yet finely detailed account of the three years he spent traveling and working with Chavez. In it, Matthiessen provides a candid look into the many sides of this enigmatic and charismatic leader who lived by the laws of nonviolence.
More than thirty years later, Sal Si Puedes is less reportage than living history. A whole era comes alive in its pages: the Chicano, Black Power, and antiwar movements; the browning of the labor movement; Chavez's series of hunger strikes; the nationwide boycott of California grapes. When Chavez died in 1993, thousands gathered at his funeral. It was a clear sign of how beloved he was, how important his life had been.
A new postscript by the author brings the reader up to date as to the events that have unfolded since the writing of Sal Si Puedes. Ilan Stavans's insightful foreword considers the significance of Chavez's legacy for our time. As well as serving as an indispensable guide to the 1960s, this book rejuvenates the extraordinary vitality of Chavez's life and spirit, giving his message a renewed and much-needed urgency.
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AFL-CIO American asked AWFWA Bakersfield Barling began boycott Brosmer brother Bruno Dispoto California called camps Cesar Chavez Chavez says Chicano Coachella contract Danny Delano Dolores Huerta farm workers fast fields fight Filipinos Forty Acres Fred Ross Giorgio Giumarra growers harvest head Helen HI-COLOR Jerry Cohen Jim Drake Kennedy Kern County kids Kovacevich labor later laughed leader Leroy Chatfield living looked Mack Lyons Manuel Matthiessen meeting Mexican Mexican-American Mexico migrant morning negotiate never NFWA night Nixon nonviolence organization pesticides Philip Vera Cruz picket line police poor ranch Richard Rivera Rubio Sal Si Puedes San Joaquin Valley San Jose Schenley Senator Sierra Vista smile spoke Street strikers talk Teamsters things tion told took truck UFWOC Union United Farm Workers Valley vineyards violence volunteers wage walked York
Page xiii - As brothers in the fight for equality,' it read in part, “I extend the hands of fellowship and good will and wish continuing success to your and your members. . . . We are together with you in spirit and in determination that our dreams for a better tomorrow will be realized.' But Chavez's heroism did not win him much of a following in Mexico, where militancy of any sort makes the government nervous. Of course, Mexicans love revolutionaries, and there were those among the left-wing intelligentsia...
Page xviii - Fighting for social justice is one of the profoundest ways in which man can say yes to man's dignity, and that really means sacrifice. There is no way on this earth in which you can say yes to man's dignity and know that you're going to be spared some sacrifice.