Timeline Description: Cesar Chavez was an important advocate for farm workers rights in America. He dedicated his life to improving working conditions of migrant farmers. Along with Dolores Huerta, Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association, which became part of the United Farm Workers of America.
|1927||Cesar Chavez is born in Yuma, Arizona.
Cesario Estrado Chavez is born on March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Arizona near a small farm that his grandfather homesteaded in the 1880s. He is one of seven children born to Juana and Librado Chavez. The family is poor and runa a farm, grocery store, garage and pool hall.
|1938||The Chavez family is evicted from their land.
The Chavez family is evicted from their land during the Great Depression. They become migrant farm workers in Arizona and California. Chavez quits school after completing the eighth grade to work in the fields full-time.
|1946||Cesar Chavez enlists in the Navy.
Chavez joins the Navy during the aftermath of WWII. He serves in the Western Pacific for two years. Right before shipping out, he is arrested in Delano, California for sitting in a "whites only" section of a movie theatre.
|1948||Cesar Chavez marries Helen Favela.
Chavez marries Helen Favela when he returns home from the Navy. They met while working in the vineyards of San Jose, California. They settle in an East San Jose barrio, Sal Si Puedes. They have 8 children and 31 grandchildren.
|1952||Chavez joins the Community Service Organization in San Jose, California.
Chavez is recruited by Fred Ross to join the Community Service Organization (CSO) in San Jose, California. Chavez becomes an organizer in the Mexican American community and rises to the head of the organization. The CSO is a prominent Latino Civil Rights Group.
|1958||Chavez becomes the executive director of the CSO.
Chavez becomes executive director of the CSO. He and his family move to the headquarters in Los Angeles. Under his leadership the CSO helps Latinos become citizens, registers them to vote, battles police brutality and helps improve the barrio.
|1962||Chavez found the National Farm Workers Association in Delano, California.
Chavez leaves the CSO and starts the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in Delano, Calif., with labor leader Dolores Huerta. NFWA is dedicated to the rights of migrant workers, including a minimum wage, insurance, and collective bargaining.
|1965||The NFWA joins the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee.
The NFWA, primarily made up of Mexican Americans, joins the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), primarily made up of Filipino Americans. The AWOC initiates the 5-year strike against grape growers in Delano, which receives much national attention. Chavez advocates strikes, picketing, boycotts, marches, and other non-violent means to achieve the union's aims.
|1966||The strikers march 250 miles from Delano to Sacramento, California.
The strikers march 250 miles from Delano to California's capital, Sacramento. The first union contract between growers and the farm workers' union comes about as a result of the strike.
|1968||Chavez leads a national boycott of California table grape growers.
Chavez leads a national boycott of California table grape growers. The boycott becomes known as "La Causa." Chavez goes on a 25-day hunger strike as part of the boycott. The boycott lasts 2 years and was supported by 17 million Americans. The supporters include many political and civil rights leaders, such as Robert Kennedy.
|1970||The UFW signs a contract with most California table grape growers, ending the strike.
The strike ends when the UFW signs a contract with most California table grape growers. Salinas' lettuce and vegetable growers sign with the Teamsters Union. Chavez organizes a nationwide lettuce boycott. When he refuses to obey a court order to stop the boycott against Bud Antie lettuce, he is jailed in Salinas, California.
|1973||The UFW organizes a lettuce grower's strike.
When grape contracts expire, growers sign with the Teamsters Union resulting in the UFW organizing a lettuce grower's strike. Many strikes spread throughout California. Thousands are arrested and two people died. Cesar calls off the strike due to violence and starts a second grape boycott.
|1975||The California Labor Relations Act goes into effect.
The California Labor Relations Act goes into effect. This is the first law that allows farm workers the right to boycott and to bargain collectively. Cesar's efforts are what push the landmark law through the California state legislature.
|1988||Chavez undertakes a 36-day "Fast for Life".
Chavez undertakes a 36-day "Fast for Life" to call attention to the health hazards farm workers and their children face by exposure to pesticides. This is his last and longest fast. The fast occurs in Delano, California.
|1993||Cesar Chavez dies on April 23, 1993 in Yuma, Arizona.
Chavez dies on April 23, 1993. He passes away peacefully in his sleep in Yuma, Arizona. His funeral in Delano is attended by 40,000 people.