Honoring Cesar Chavez
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull and Yuyi Morales and Strike! The Farm Workers’ Fight For Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner are both excellent tellings of the life of Cesar Chavez.
A picture book suitable for grades K-5, Harvesting Hope traces Chavez’s early childhood on his family’s ranch in Arizona and their dislocation with drought during the Great Depression. From then on, Chavez and his family were migrant farm workers. This experience made Chavez particularly sensitive to the plight of farm workers. The bulk of the book concerns his efforts to organize farm workers to improve their circumstances, the Delano grape strike of 1965, and the march from Delano to Sacramento in 1966.
Strike! covers the Delano grape strike and the rise and fall of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers of America. This more critical appraisal of Chavez, the UFW, and anti-union activities of the agriculture industry and government is aimed at grades 6-12. The narrative is supported by oral histories, FBI files, diaries, letters, and newspaper accounts and illustrated with contemporary graphics and photographs. It includes a timeline, source notes, and list of resources for further investigation.
THE FOLLOWING LESSONS AND RESOURCES HELP COMMEMORATE CESAR CHAVEZ DAY (MARCH 31):
- Model Curriculum And Resources for Teachers: Cesar Chavez. (K-12) In A Child’s Place in Time and Space, students in grade 1 learn how Chavez worked to resolve problems peaceably. In Continuity and Change, Students in grade 3 learn about Chavez’s relationship with immigrants. Standards are listed.
- In Making Evidence-Based Claims Unit: Cesar Chavez, students in grade 7 develop their abilities to make evidence-based claims with activities based on a close reading of Cesar Chavez’s 1984 California Commonwealth Club Address. Unit components can be downloaded individually or in a single zip file. Standards are listed.
- Organizing the Farm Worker Movement. Students in grades 7-12 (adaptable for 4-6) explore conditions faced by farm laborers in the mid-20th century and meet those who led efforts to improve their conditions. Two extensions ask students to map the route of the march from Delano to Sacramento and to examine the UFW’s nonviolent strategy.
- The Industrial Revolution and the Formation of Unions. Students in grades 10-12 identify reasons unions are formed and specifically why the United Farm Workers (UFW) was formed. Standards are listed.
- Boycott Lettuce and Grapes. A 1975 UFW poster.
- Lessons From What Cesar Chavez Did Right — And Wrong. An article examining the pros and cons of Chavez’s leadership.
- Viva La Causa (49:38) is a documentary film for middle and high school students on the grape strike and boycott led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the 1960s.
- Viva La Causa: Teacher’s Guide. Includes 8 lessons. Standards are listed.