Highlights in the Life of César E. Chávez

1927                Born March 31, Yuma, Arizona.

1939                Chávez family loses farm and business and become migrant farm workers.

1942                Father disabled. César quits school to work in the fields.

1944-46           Served in U.S. Navy.

1948                Chávez family joins National Farm Labor Union.

1948                Marries Helen Fabela.

1958                Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee is founded by Fr. Donald McDonald, Fr. Thomas

                           McCullough, and Dolores Huerta, a native New Mexican.

1962                Starts National Farm Workers Association. NFWA has 1000 dues paying members, 50 locals.

1965                Leads major strikes in McFarland and Porterville, CA.

1966                Robert Kennedy conducts Senate hearings on agricultural labor in Delano.

1966                Mass march from Delano to Sacramento. First farm labor agreement is signed. Union

                           renamed United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO.

1967                International grape boycott is called to force growers to negotiate.

1969                Bakersfield, CA pesticide hearings begin. March to Mexican border to protest grower use of

                           undocumented workers as strike breakers.

1970                First table grape contract is signed with the Freedman Corporation. César jailed for defying

                           court injunction against boycotting grapes. Mass pressure forces his release.

1975                California Labor Relations Act is enacted. Short handled hoe is outlawed.

1984                Chávez announces a new grape boycott against pesticide use.

1986                Immigration Reform and Control Act enacted.

1990                Nov. 12, President Salinas de Gortari awards César Chávez the highest Mexican civilian

                           award, El Aguila Azteca.

1991                Chávez speaks at Woodward Hall, UNM. Boycott judgements held against UFW. Nationwide

                           campaign fund-raiser.

1993                At Plumbers Hall in Albuquerque in March, Chávez speaks out against pesticide poisoning of


1993                April 23, after fasting 36 days to protest pesticide use, César Chávez dies in his sleep.

                           50,000 attend his funeral.

1994                Posthumously awarded the highest honor to a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1994                After a 340 mile march from Delano to Sacramento by 17,000 workers, California

                           establishes a César Chávez State Holiday for March 31. Signed by Governor Wilson on

                           September 2.

1996                Albuquerque City Council renames Stadium Boulevard, from Yale Boulevard to Fourth Street,

                           Avenida César Chávez. This was a great victory for the people of New Mexico who redoubled

                           their efforts after the City Council failed to name Sunport Boulevard after César.

1997                New Mexico State Legislature passes a bill to establish a César Chávez State Holiday. Vetoed

                           by Governor Johnson.

1999                New Mexico State Legislature bans the short handled hoe.