Legendary civil rights activist and labor leader Cesar Chavez visits Colegio Cesar Chavez, a college named after him, in Mount Angel, Oregon. Colegio Cesar Chavez closed in 1983.

Photograph by Movimento, courtesy Wikimedia. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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    On March 31, 1927, Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona. Today, many states recognize March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day.
     
    Chavez, a migrant farmworker, became a civil rights activist and labor organizer. He helped found the influential United Farm Workers (UFW) union, and tirelessly worked to organize working class white, Mexican American, and Filipino farmworkers. The UFW supported greater safety measures, increased wages, and improved working conditions for farmworkers. Chavez himself engaged in strikes, boycotts, and even hunger strikes.
     
    Cesar Chavez Day is honored as a “day of service and learning.” The day is a public holiday in California, Colorado, and Texas. Michigan, Arizona, Nebraska, and New Mexico also honor the holiday with debates and public-service events recognizing labor, civil rights, and the principles of non-violence.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    boycott Verb

    to stop using or buying a product, or to stop using or buying products at a specific location, usually to make a social or political statement.

    civil rights Plural Noun

    set of fundamental freedoms guaranteed to all individuals, such as participation in the political system, ability to own property, and due process and equal protection under the law.

    crop Noun

    agricultural produce.

    Encyclopedic Entry: crop
    debate Verb

    to argue or disagree in a formal setting.

    engage Verb

    to become actively involved with something.

    Great Depression Noun

    (1929-1941) period of very low economic activity in the U.S. and throughout the world.

    grocery Noun

    food or other goods sold at a general store.

    hunger strike Noun

    refusal to eat, usually to protest a social or political injustice.

    influential Adjective

    important; having the ability to lead the opinions or attitudes of others.

    labor Noun

    work or employment.

    migrant noun, adjective

    person who regularly moves from place to place, usually in search of work.

    parade Noun

    procession of performers and entertainers.

    principle Noun

    rule or standard.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    strike Noun

    situation of people refusing to work in order to call attention to their working conditions.

    tool Noun

    instrument used to help in the performance of a task.

    union Noun organization of workers formed to protect the rights and interests of its members.
    wage Noun

    money or goods traded for work or service performed.

    working class Noun

    social class of workers, usually performing manual labor.