Cesar Chavez, who led a movement to improve the living and working conditions of thousands of migrant farmworkers in the United States, will have his California home, which he affectionately called La Paz, or “The Peace,” added to the National Register of Historic Places this week. President Obama will establish the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in Keene, California, during a campaign swing through the state. “Chavez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” the president said in a statement.

Chavez died on April 23, 1993. Jeff C. Young, author of Cesar Chavez, in the Morgan Reynolds series American Workers, writes that a year after his death President Bill Clinton honored Chavez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country’s highest civilian honor. Clinton said of Chavez, “The farmworkers who labored in the fields and yearned for respect and self-sufficiency pinned their hopes on this remarkable man, who, with faith and discipline, with soft-spoken humility and amazing inner strength, led a very courageous life. And in so doing, brought dignity to the lives of so many others, and provided for us inspiration for the rest of our nation’s history.”

 Chavez organized nonviolent boycotts against California’s powerful grape growers in the 1960s and 1970s, leading to new legislation for farmworkers nationwide. “He showed people that, if you work hard and never give up, you can make a difference,” said Chavez’s son Paul, the founder of the Chavez Foundation. “Fight the tough fight,” he added, “because you believe you can make a difference.”

 This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Chavez’s founding of the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the UFW. His home served as as national headquarters of the UFW, and Chavez is buried there. His gravesite will be part of the monument. By establishing the site at La Paz, short for Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, or Our Lady Queen of Peace, President Obama said, “Chavez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.”

The National Chavez Center in Keene, California

 Sharon F. Doorasamy

Managing Editor

 To read more about Chavez and his achivements, check out Cesar Chavez by Jeff C. Young in the Morgan Reynolds series American Workers (ISBN: 978-1-59935-036-3).

Published in: on October 8, 2012 at 10:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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