The Farm Workers Movement

The movement that symbolized the Chicano Movement as a whole was the Farm Workers Movement. This popular movement was a civil rights movement that sought justice for Mexican and Mexican-American farm workers. The movement was constituted by a huge labor organizing drive and a moral campaign. Through the labor organizing drive, activists of this social movement intended to reach a reform in the agriculture industry that could benefit the farm workers. The main target of the reform was to improve farm workers workings conditions as well as to finding a solution to the economic struggles of farm workers. Farm workers experienced severe living and working conditions. Most farm workers often lived in poorly repaired, expensive, and overcrowded migrant camps. The housing for farm workers suffered the lack of basic needs like running water, indoor toilets, heat, or even electricity. The unhealthy conditions farm workers had to live through was the most shocking aspect of their life style. In most cases, farm laborers were asked to perform arduous and exhausting physical work for less than the lower wage. The conditions of the fields were not satisfying either, farm workers were exposed to cold, dangerous rodents and strong chemicals that were a threat for health. Also, they possibility of dehydration always persisted due to the lack clean water and high temperatures when the sun came out. Furthermore, theses workers were treated differently by the government in comparison of the rest of the labor force of the United States. The farm worker suffered the lack of medical insurance, the necessity of a stable minimum labor wage, and were excluded from Federal Legislation as well as from the Social Security program.

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta created the Farm Workers Association, which was to become a social movement and a union of farm workers that could deal with medical, language, and other problems faced by farm workers. Chavez and the rest of the farm workers movement opted to use non-violent methods of protest. They were responsible for massive protests, national boycotts, and strikes. The grape strike of 1965 was a strong proof of the power of Mexican and Mexican-American farm workers to gather together and fight for their cause. Chavez was well known for his particular method of protest; fasting. He was so committed to the cause that he risked his life by going for several days without food. Even though this Farm Workers Movement was very active during the 1960s, their production of accomplishments was not that good. Most of their goals were not met due to lack of political support. But Chavez and other activists planted the seed that later would produce a series of achievements in favor of the Farm Workers Movement.

The Farm Workers Movement was influenced by the civil rights movement of 1960, but the alliance with other organizations gave a more power to the movement. Filipino farm workers organizations played a big role during the existence of the Farm Workers Movement.

(319) Sen. Robert Kennedy, Larry Itliong, Dolores Huerta, and Andy Imutan, Delano, California


About golopes2012

Group Project of the 1960's.
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2 Responses to The Farm Workers Movement

  1. golopes2012 says:

    It is so sad to see that Mexican farmers were treated so differently from American farmers. The conditions were so poor for the Mexican farmers, I cannot even imagine what I would do if I was in a situation without adequate shelter and water. I am happy to see that the Farm Workers Movement and the work of Cesar Chavez risking his own life to help others, eventually changed the way the people in the Mexican Agriculture field were treated. It goes to show how the work of one brave person can influence the minds of so many others and change a nation.
    -Suzie Z.

  2. golopes2012 says:

    Its so great that activists like Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta would start the Farm Workers Association. Looking back in history it is sad to see how people were treated, whether it be Mexican- American or African Americans they wer treated like animals and got paid less than everyone else. It would be a scary thought to be in this country and not have basic facilities like running water, indoor plumming, the lack of clean water, and electricity even for this time period. Again I like how the used non violence protesting to achive their rights. This was very informative. Good Post.

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