Farmworker Movement Documentation Project - Presented by the UC San Diego Library

Oral History

Below you’ll find audio from various events during the farmworker movement. Click on the headings to view the audio clips from that event. Files will open in a popup window and play a streaming flash file. Flash plugin required to play files.

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Founding of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) 1962

Gilbert Padilla, one of the founding members, provides background and context.
Play Audio 55 minutes

Who Was Cesar Chavez? 1962-1993

LeRoy Chatfield: Introduction | Interviews with six volunteers who worked for Cesar Chavez: | Gilbert Flores | Chris Hartmire | Richard Ybarra | Larry Tramutola | Ellen Eggers | Terry Vasquez Scott |

Richad A. Garcia, “Cesar Chavez: A Personal and Historical Testimony” – 1994

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Cesar Chavez Oral History

23 Audio Clips. Cesar Chavez in his own words.

Cesar Chavez: Pacifica Radio Archives – 1966-1973

6 Radio Programs

  • BB2358 The Delano Grape Strike, 1966
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  • B3147 Cesar Chavez at City College ,1966
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  • BB2558 An Interview with Cesar Chavez, 1970
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  • BC0527 The Cesar Chavez Assassination Plot, 1971
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  • BC0640 An Interview with Cesar Chavez, 1972
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  • BC1530 In the Fields: Struggles of the Farm Workers Union, the Battle of Coachella, 1973
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  • Audio in this section courtesy of Pacific Radio Archives

“Cesar Chavez and the NFWA” – KPFK Interview: LeRoy Chatfield – 1966

Play Audio 21 minutes

Cesar Chavez Creates A More Effective Boycott – 1969

5 Recordings | 4.5 Hours

Cesar Chavez Transcript: “A Dialogue With Congress” – 1969

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Cesar Chavez Transcript: “Interview: Robert F. Kennedy” – 1970

Part 1 Part 2

Cesar Chavez Grills UFW Organizer Pancho Botello – 1970

Play Audio English|Spanish Transcript

Richard Chavez: The Origins of the Farmworker Movement – 1972

Brother of Cesar Chavez, and a founding member of the NFWA, provides family history.

Gilbert Padilla Oral History

Founding member of NFWA provides historical account of the work of Cesar Chavez.

Dolores Huerta Oral History

Founding member of NFWA provides historical account of the work of Cesar Chavez.

Religious Response to Farmworker Movement – California Migrant Ministry & Central
Valley Churches.

Ron Wells: Cesar Chavez’s Protestant Allies

Interview with: Rev. Wayne “Chris” Hartmire & Rev. William “Bill” Dew

Jim Drake: Worker-Priest – Philosophy & Movement Reflections – 1985

LeRoy Chatfield: Introduction | Dick Meister: Eulogy | Jim Drake: Essays | Jim Drake: Declaration | Jim Drake: Fred Ross Eulogy | Lincoln Richardson, “Cesar Chavez” Presbyterian Life 1968

4 Oral History Interviews: “Who Was Jim Drake?”

Interviews with volunteers who worked with Jim Drake. | Chris Hartmire | John Moyer | Gilbert Padilla | Yolanda Barrera | Richard Cook | Bruce Meyerson | Herb Ely | Margaret Murphy | Jeff Sweetland |

Andy Imutan Oral History

Filipino farmworker union leader provides history of Filipino farmworkers and Cesar Chavez.
4 Audio Tapes

The Filipino Brothers Oral History – 1981

Peter Stanley: “Exiled in California” | Fred Abad: Essay | Claro Runtal: Essay | Rudy Reyes: Essay | Andy Imutan: Essay | Transcript: Philip Vera Cruz 1977 | New York Times: “Last of the Manongs” | 1971 Phillip Vera Cruz Interview | 4 Interviews: | Philip Vera Cruz | Pete Velasco | Andy Imutan | Lorraine Agtang-Greer | Marissa Aroy Video: The Delano Manongs Video Clip

Luis Valdez Oral History

Historical accountof Cesar Chavez and the founding of El Teatro Campesino.
El Teatro Campesino Photos: | John Kouns | Jon Lewis | “The Tale of The Raza” | 6 Audio Tapes |

Huelgistas: Delano Grape Strikers Oral History 1965

8 strikers (huelgistas) tell the story of the Delano Grape Strike: | Marcos Muñoz | Maria Saludado | Joe Serda | Roberto Bustos | Antonia Saludado | Esther Uranday | Jesus Marin & Rico Barrera |

Growing Up in a Migrant Worker Family – 8 Oral History Accounts

| Esther Uranday | Luis Valdez | Gilbert Flores | Antonia Saludado | Yolanda Barrera | Lorraine Agtang-Greer | Abby Flores Rivera | Rudy Ahumada |

Jessica Govea Oral History

| Music | Photos | Essays |

United Farm Worker Volunteers – 8 Oral History Accounts

| Doug Adair | Bill Chandler | LeRoy Chatfield | Chris Hartmire | Nick Jones | Daneen Montoya | Jerry Cohen | Paul Schrade |

Luis Valdez Reads: “The Plan of Delano” (Spanish) – 1966

Recording: El Teatro Campesino de Delano – 6 minutes

Documentary Filmmaker Mark Jonathan Harris: “¡HUELGA!” – 1966

5 Documentary Film Audio Clips

Fred Ross Sr. Oral History Archive

In 1969, Fred Ross, mentor and friend of Cesar Chavez, conducted a series of oral interviews and collected oral background material about the farmworker movement for a book he planned to write but never did. However, in 1989 three years before his death, he published, “Conquering Goliath: Cesar Chavez At The Beginning” – the story of Cesar Chavez’s work with the Community Service Organization (CSO). see books out of print Forty years later, I am privileged to publish this priceless oral history collection created by Fred Ross, Sr. for a book I wish he had written. – LeRoy Chatfield

National TV News Clips: United Farm Workers – 1970

10 Audio Clips

Michael Dukakis: “The Lettuce Boycott” Debate – 1970

Play Audio Debate at Boston Faneuil Hall – 56 minutes

Winthrop Yinger Farmworker Movement Oral History Archive – 1970

California Child Labor | Chris Hartmire Migrant Ministry | Migrant: NBC White Paper | Governor Reagan Closes Community Organizing Training Program | Dan Berrigan | Allan Grant CA Farm Bureau | Proposition 22 | Delano Strike Meeting | CBS: Chavez vs Teamsters | NBC: Harvest of Shame | Cesar Chavez Speaking

Chet Huntley – NBC: “Migrant” – 1970

Recorded by UFW Volunteer Ruben Montoya

Marshall Ganz Oral History – 1971

UFW Boycott History Explained To Union Ranch Committees (Spanish)

UFW Boycott Conference: Right Wing Attacks | Boycott History (English)

“Si Se Puede” Film: Cesar Chavez Arizona Fast – Rick Tejada-Flores – 1972

3 Audio Clips: Father. Eugene Boyle/Richard Chavez/Cesar Chavez

Saul Alinsky Interview: “The Professional Radical” – 1972

Play Audio 27 minutes

Dedication of Agbayani Village for Retired Filipino Farmworkers – 1974

LeRoy Chatfield: Introduction | Cesar Chavez Master of Ceremonies – 9 tapes

Fred Ross Training Sessions – 1975

21 Tapes | LeRoyChatfield: Introduction | Larry Tramutola: “Fred Ross” | Fred Ross: “History of the Farmworker Movement” | Fred Ross: “Axioms for Organizers” |

Pat Hoffman: 33 Interviews “Impact of Farmworker Movement On Churches and Church Leaders” – 1985

Patt Hoffman: Introduction | Eugene Boyle | LeRoy Chatfield | Cesar Chavez | Jerry Cohen | Loris Coletta | Cliff Crummey | Mark Day | Jessie De La Cruz | Bill & Mitzi Dew | Jim Drake | Woody Garvin | Marshall Ganz | Jean Giordano | Jessica Govea | Allan Grant | Rose Cecilia Harrington CSJ | Chris Hartmire | George Higgins | Karl & Ethelyn Irvin | Raquel Venegas Lawson & Karl Lawson | Alan McCoy | Charles McLain | Maria Saludado Magana | Howard & Rosemary Matson | John C. Moyer | John R. Moyer | Richard Norberg | Walter Press | Fred Ross | Marilyn Rudy CSJ | Augie Vandenbosche | Gertrude Welch | Winthrop Yinger | Ronald Wells: Cesar Chavez’s Protestant Allies

  • Eugene Boyle
    Father Eugene Boyle worked with the Committee on Justice of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. He was one of the first priests to join UFW marches and picket lines and was in jail for two weeks with farmworkers and other religious in 1973.
  • LeRoy Chatfield
    LeRoy Chatfield was a close friend and colleague of Cesar Chavez from 1963 to 1973.
  • Cesar Chavez
    Founder of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) which became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). The historic nonviolent leader of farmworkers and Latinos.
  • Jerry Cohen
    UFW General Counsel from 1967 to 1979. A key figure in the many legal battles between the UFW , the growers and their powerful allies in government and business.
  • Loris Coletta
    President of Church Women United for Southern California and Nevada. She was an unwavering friend to farmworkers and encouraged support by church women.
  • Cliff Crummey
    United Methodist clergyman. Was Executive Director of the Northern California Council of Churches during the Grape Strike (1968-1972). Rev. Crummey’s father owner of a large agricultural machinery company headquartered in San Jose.
  • Mark Day
    In 1967 Fr. Mark Day, a young Franciscan priest, was sent as pastor to a church in Delano. He became a strong supporter of farmworkers organizing. He later wrote a book, Forty Acres, about the farmworker movement.
  • Jessie De la Cruz
    A founding member of the National Farm Workers Association. First woman organizer in the fields for the NFWA. She and her family have all been strong supporters of the UFW.
  • Bill and Mitzi Dew
    Bill and Mitzi Dew were at the Alamo/San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, where he was pastor. They spent eleven years working in the San Joaquin Valley and found loving ways to serve church members who were growers and farmworkers who needed change.
  • Jim Drake – Part 1Part 2Part 3
    A UCC clergyman on the staff of the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM). The NFWM assigned him to work directly with Cesar Chavez in the NFWA. He became the most significant link between the NFWA (later the UFW) and the churches as he interpreted the fast moving strike and boycott actions to Rev. Chris Hartmire, Director of the NFWM.
  • Woody Garvin
    Presbyterian pastor who was a UFW supporter in Pasadena, California.
  • Marshall Ganz
    An outstanding organizer who came to the UFW from the civil rights movement. Among other assignments, Marshall was on the boycott staff of the boycott in Canada.
  • Jean Giordano
    Founded the strong and long-lasting NFWM/UFW in Orange County support organization, which still exists today.
  • Jessica Govea – Part 1Part 2
    An early strong leader in the UFW. She led the boycott in Canada.
  • Allan Grant
    Was President of California Farm Bureau Federation and President of State Board of Agriculture in 1969. A Presbyterian elder who was active in the San Joaquin Presbytery in 1960’s and 1970’s.
  • Rose Cecilia Harrington, CSJ
    Was Major Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet and was arrested with the farm workers in Fresno in 1973.
  • Chris Hartmire – 19841985
    Rev. Wayne “Chris” Hartmire, a Presbyterian clergyman, was the Director of the NFWM for 20 years and then on the staff of the UFW at La Paz, Keene, California.
  • George Higgins – Part 1Part 2
    Roman Catholic priest and key member of the Bishops’ Committee. Key Labor movement expert in the Catholic Church. U.S. Catholic Conference staff member.
  • Karl and Ethelyn Irvin
    Karl Irvin was Regional Minister for Disciples of Christ for Northern California and was Chair of the California Migrant Ministry Commission. He and Ethelyn moved to Stockton, California where he was pastor of a church and an unequivocal supporter of farmworkers.
  • Raquel Venegas Lawson and Karl Lawson – Part 1Part 2
    Raquel was a union supporter at a mushroom plant in Oxnard, California. Karl was on UFW staff.
  • Alan McCoy
    A Franciscan priest who was pastor of a church in Sacramento in 1965. Worked closely with Chris Hartmire. Was head of Western Province of Franciscans and later led the Major Superiors of Men.
  • Charles McLain
    Presbyterian clergyman and early supporter of Delano Grape Strike. Was arrested with church supporters and strikers six weeks into the Strike. Remained an ardent supporter to the end of his life in 2005.
  • Maria Saludado Magana
    As a young farmworker in her twenties she joined the Strike in the first year and later went out on the boycott. She became a member of the UFW Service Center staff.
  • Howard and Rosemary Matson
    Howard and Rosemary were leaders in peace and justice work in the Unitarian Universalist denomination and were early supporters of the farmworker cause.
  • John C. Moyer
    Presbyterian clergyman who became a UFW supporter while in seminary and continued support as a campus pastor.
  • John R. Moyer
    A United Church of Christ clergyman who served on the staff of the UCC Board of Homeland Ministries and represented them on the Board of the National Farm Worker Ministry. Was a key figure in generating national support for the UFW in his denomination.
  • Richard Norberg – Part 1Part 2
    The Rev. Dr. Richard Norberg was appointed Conference Minister of the Northern California Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1960. The UCC was a new denomination formed in 1957 from the Congregational Church and the Evangelical Reform Church. The Conference included the three hundred mile long San Joaquin Valley where much of the strike activity took place. Dr. Norberg’s support for the National Farm Worker Ministry and for some of his own staff, tested the new denomination’s resilience.
  • Walter Press
    Rev. Walter Press, a UCC clergyman who was Associate Conference Minister for the Northern California Conference of the United Church of Christ and former chair of California Migrant Ministry Commission. He was Dr. Norberg’s Associate. He came out of the more conservative Evangelical Reform denomination, but was a staunch advocate for social justice.
  • Fred Ross
    Founder of Community Service Organization and mentor to Cesar Chavez. A master organizer.
  • Marilyn Rudy, CSJ
    A Sister of St. Joseph of Carondolet, a socially progressive order. Sr. Marilyn was among the strong farmworker supporters in the community.
  • Augie Vandenbosche – Part 1Part 2
    Presbyterian clergyman who, as the Director of the Florida Migrant Ministry, brought it into full cooperation with the National Farm Worker Ministry. He moved the FMM from a service organization to advocacy for workers organizing, a natural transition for Augie to make as a long-time southern labor supporter.
  • Gertrude Welch
    Was an active volunteer with the Council of Churches. Was one of Chris Hartmire’s key contacts in San Jose for years.
  • Winthrop Yinger
    Rev. Win Yinger is a United Church of Christ clergyman. In the early 1960s he was the newly called pastor of the Congregational Church in Arvin, California in the southern end of the San JoaquinValley. After the Grape Strike began in 1965, Win tried to open dialogue about issues surrounding the strike. In this interview he tells the story of what happened and how it affected the rest of his life.

Artist Carlos David Almaraz Interview: 1973 UFW Convention Mural – 1986

Read Transcript | View Mural

La Paz: United Farm Worker Community Meetings – 1987/1988

5 Audio Tapes – Moderator: Chris Hartmire

February 6, 1987 – Chris Hartmire, Moderator

May 1, 1987 – Chris Hartmire, Moderator

March 4, 1988 – Chris Hartmire, Moderator

California State University Northridge (CSUN): Farmworker Movement Oral History Project – 1995

Introduction | Credits 12 Interviews: | Doug Adair | Roberto Bustos | Bill Chandler | LeRoy Chatfield | Richard Chavez | Gilbert Flores | Chris Hartmire | Nick Jones | Daneen Montoya | Maria Saludado Magana | Antonia Saludado | Joe Serda |

  • Adair, Doug – tape 1tape 2tape 3tape 4tape 5
  • Bustos, Roberto – tape 1
  • Chandler, Bill – tape 1tape 2tape 3
  • Chatfield, LeRoy – tape 1
  • Chavez, Richard – tape 1tape 2tape 3tape 4tape 5tape 6
  • Flores, Gilbert – tape 1tape 2
  • Hartmire, Chris – tape 1tape 2
  • Jones, Nick – tape 1tape 2
  • Montoya, Daneen – tape 1tape 2
  • Saludado de Magana, Maria – tape 1tape 2tape 3
  • Saludado, Antonia – tape 1tape 2
  • Serda, Joe – tape 1tape 2
  • Mary Kambic Oral History Project: UFW Pittsburgh Boycott 1967-1970

    Interviews with religious, labor, community activists about UFW boycott and Al Rojas family. | Father Jack O’Malley | Molly Rush | Jim Scardina | Florence Black | Cary Lund | Russell Gibbons |

    Paradigm Productions Farmworker Movement Interviews – 1995/1996

    Linda Chavez | Pete Velasco | Mike Ybarra | Arturo Rodriguez | Dolores Huerta | Richard Chavez | Cardinal Roger Mahony | David Ronquillo | Paul Schrade | Bert Corona | Kathy & Lupe Murguia | Fred Abad | Adelina Gurola | Jessie DeLaCruz | Ben Maddock | Jerry Brown | Fred Ross Jr. | Herman Gallegos | Jerry Cohen | Sabino Lopez | Pete Maturino | Bill Grammi | Rita Chavez Medina | Chris Hartmire | LeRoy Chatfield | Al Rojas | Daryl Arnold | Lionel Steinberg | Marion Moses | Juanita Brown | Dorothy Coyle | Paul Chavez | Marta Rodriguez | Jessica Govea | Luis Valdez | Ethel Kennedy | Monsignor George Higgins

    Paradigm Productions Interview Transcripts – 1995/1996

    Paradigm Productions Farmworker Movement Archive 1995/1996

    Interview With Filmmakers, Ray Telles & Rick Tejada-Flores of Paradigm Productions – 2009

    Play

    Bob Hatton Oral History Archive: Delano Grape Strikers – 2005

    4 Interviews: | Gilbert Padilla | Yolanda Barrera | Jesus Marin & Rico Barrera | Roberto Bustos | Transcript: Barrera Brothers Interview

    Agustin Lira: Music & Interview by Abby Flores Rivera/Jan Peterson – 2005

    30 minutes

    Terry Scott Interviews Jon Lewis UFW Photographer 1966/1968 – 2006

    Play Interview 38 minutes

    Elaine Elinson UFW Boycott Volunteer: KPFA Interview & Readings – 2006

    Play 30 minutes

    Ray Telles/Rick Tejada-Flores Farmworker Movement Interviews – 2006

    8 Interviews | Lorraine Agtang-Greer | Yolanda Barrera | LeRoy Chatfield | Jerry Cohen | Andy Imutan | Marcos Muñoz | Paul Schrade | Luis Valdez |

    LeRoy Chatfield: Introduction

    LeRoy Chatfield Interviews Esther Uranday Delano Grape Striker and UFW Volunteer 1965-2008

    127 minutes

    Discussion: “Cesar Chavez 1968 Fast for Nonviolence” – 2008

    Panelists: | Jerry Cohen | Abby Flores Rivera | Chris Hartmire | Esther Uranday | LeRoy Chatfield |

    115 minutes

    Paul Schrade Oral History Transcript (1996) – 2009

    Marshall Ganz: Oral History Interview by LeRoy Chatfield – 2009

    ORAL HISTORY LINKS – FARMWORKER MOVEMENT

    Pancho Medrano – Born October 2, 1920, in Dallas, Texas. Francisco F. Medrano, known as Pancho Medrano, was an official for the United Auto Workers. He was active in local politics in Dallas, Texas, and supported the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee efforts in Texas and California. He was also well-known as a Mexican heavyweight boxing champion.

    Don Watson – Don Watson, the focus of this month’s oral history, was a CP member between 1948 and 1956. One would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated adherent to the cause of labor. Watson retired from ship clerks Local 34 in 1993 after years of activist work for the ILWU and other unions, including the Marine Cooks and Stewards (MCS) in the early 1950s and the United Farm Workers (UFW) in the 1960s and 1970s. Today he is still helping the ILWU by assisting with the union’s lobbying program at the California state capitol.

    1966 Virgin Banner: March to Sacramento – Our last story explores the birth of a major American labor and cultural movement. It’s March 17, 1966. On a cold winter morning, a small group of mostly Mexican and Mexican-American farm workers set out by foot from Delano, California, to the state capitol in Sacramento. Their goal: to gain public support for their struggle to end over a hundred years of exploitation of. At first, few people take notice. But as the marchers passed through town after town, they picked up more and more supporters… and national more attention. Twenty-five days, and 350 grueling miles later, they reached the steps of the state capitol, ten thousand people strong. What started as a tiny group of largely ignored day laborers has grown into a powerful movement that captures the nation’s attention. Their leader, César Chávez, becomes a household name. The march marked a pivotal moment in American labor history, and the birth of a Latino cultural and political movement. Leading the way is a banner that hasn’t been seen since. Over 30 years later, a woman from San Francisco believes this beautiful banner led the famous 1966 march. If she’s right, then it’s not only an artifact from a celebrated labor struggle, but also the symbolic focus of the emergence of Chicanos in American history. Vicki Vertiz came across the banner at San Francisco State University Labor Archives. In 1994, she joined another march commemorating César Chávez’s life and legacy.

    EL TEATRO CAMPESINO: “Mundo Mata” – Introduction by Luis Valdez, performed in San Juan Bautista/May 2001. Premier performance in El Paso Texas (1976).

    Run-time: 2.27 Language: In English, with some Spanish. Synopsis: It is the summer of 1973, and the United Farm Workers are fighting for their lives. Led by Cesar Chavez, a march comes to Burlap, California, a fictional tank town in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. This is the background for playwright, director and El Teatro Campesinos founder Luis Valdez vintage classic, Mundo Mata a period piece that exposes the raw realities of life in a small farmworker town. As part of an epic struggle to achieve victory in union elections among ranches up and down the state, the campaign in Burlap brings together two brothers and pulls them apart. One is Bullet Mata, who returns to his old hometown for the first time in twelve years; the other, his older brother Mundo, a Vietnam veteran. Bullet is a college dropout, turned Chavista sworn to non-violence. Mundo is a drug dealer, secretly hired by two growers to stop Chavez. While the issue of violence versus non-violence becomes a personal matter between the two brothers, Mundo Mata also resonates within a larger landscape of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War. What if Cesar Chavez had been assassinated in 1973? Would history remember him differently? These are some of the questions implied in this gritty drama about the farmworkers struggle for justice. Mundo Mata premiered in 1976 in El Paso, Texas in the Chamizal Theater on the borderline with Juarez, Mexico. After being retired, the play was revived, rewritten and restaged, as documented in this 2001 production.

    Raul Trejo: “Dedicado a la Memoria Trabajo y Legado de Cesar Chavez” – A four minute U-Tube video. Presentation with music, quotations from Cesar Chavez, and some excellent photos of a relaxed and confident Chavez. (Spanish).


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    © 2004–2012 Si Se Puede Press

    Primary source accounts: photographs, oral histories, videos, essays and historical documents from the United Farm Worker Delano Grape Strikers and the UFW Volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement.

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