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IntroductionIntroduction by LeRoy Chatfield

Nick Jones, a United Farm Worker volunteer from 1966 to 1976, used a 35mm camera to record his work with the farmworker movement. Instead of keeping a journal, Nick took candid photos - upwards of 1,500 photographs. Now, 30 years later, Nicks photos serve as an incredible primary resource for those interested in the work of Cesar Chavez and his farmworker movement.

Nicks photos include the public relations travels of Cesar Chavez, the UFW organizing campaign and grape strike at Giumarra Vineyards in the late 1960s, the Oregon and Boston area UFW grape, lettuce and Gallo boycotts, the harsh working conditions of farmworkers harvesting grapes, the Bobby Kennedy and No on Proposition 22 UFW political campaigns, a UFW memorial service for RFK, a variety of UFW in-house national and local boycott staff meetings, and scores of farmworker volunteers.

In my view, the most telling story contained in these photographs is the portrayal of the grape boycott. For those of us who were involved in the very early days of the Delano Grape Strike, it became clear that the strike could not be won through picket lines along the sides of the county roads, which bordered the grape fields. For one thing, the strike area itself was too vast to manage effectively. The grape fields extended along Highway 99 from at least Tipton (north of Delano) to Arvin (south of Bakersfield) a distance of 60 miles. In addition, the growers had access to an unlimited supply of strike breakers recruited through labor contractors along the California-Mexico border and transported by air-conditioned buses to cross the Delano area picket lines. The strike, anchored by faithful farmworker strikers manning the picket lines, was an important symbol of the movement struggle, but it was the development of the boycott in more than 40 cities in the U.S. and Canada that created the leverage to force the growers to the collective bargaining table.

These photographs of Nick Jones show the power of the UFW boycott, first in Oregon, and then in New England. Thousands of farmworker supporters were mobilized and inspired - to put economic pressure on supermarkets and wholesalers who, in turn, pushed back on the California grape growers first, by forcing the growers to sell at a discount or loss, or worse, by purchasing token amounts of product, or none at all. The farmworker movement succeeded in creating a playing field on which the growers could not compete because they did not understand the rules of the game.

As you view the Oregon and Boston area boycott photos taken by Nick Jones, pleased remind yourself to multiply by 25 in order to properly assess the sum total impact generated by the boycott in the cities of the U.S. and Canada.

(Photos captions provided by LeRoy Chatfield)



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