Cesar Chavez by Anne E. Schraff

Geography Cultures

By Anne E. Schraff

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Some had stood beside him picking walnuts, grapes, and cotton. 56 Chavez Book 9/17/07 C H 2:20 PM A P Page 57 T E R 10 Pope John Paul II sent a statement of condolence and celebration of the life of Cesar Chavez. Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney of Los Angeles called Chavez a prophet for the farm workers. Dignitaries and rough-looking farm workers stood together to honor Chavez. Chavez's body lay in a simple pine coffin. The pallbearers were his children, grandchildren, and people who worked with him in the fields and in the forming of the union.

They went with their mother to the fields to pick cotton, walnuts, peas, and table grapes. This way, their father had time to organize the union. Dolores Huerta signs up workers to join the union. 30 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 31 By the fall of 1962, one thousand farm workers had joined the union. Chavez decided there were enough members to hold a convention in Fresno, California. In Fresno, the union flag was unveiled. Chavez had put a lot of thought into the flag. He wanted it to be simple so that farm workers could easily copy it to make their own posters and flags.

Now, he revived old family ties and friendships. Cesar Chavez stayed with a family in San Luis, Arizona, about twenty miles from Yuma. After his round of visiting, he returned to the concrete block home in the barrio. , Chavez had dinner. He then told his hosts he was exhausted from the long questioning on the witness stand in court. Life in the barrio was hard. The workers lived in small, crowded houses that were often shacks with no running water. 53 Chavez Book 9/17/07 2:20 PM Page 54 So much was at stake.

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