Author Archive | miriam pawel

Chavez and RFK

Forty-seven years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy went to Delano, California to help Cesar Chavez break his first and most famous lengthy fast. Speculation was rampant about whether the junior senator from New York would enter the Democratic presidential primary, a contest where, at the moment, President Lyndon Johnson faced a challenge from the left from Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy. On […]

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The Wink

Tomorrow, March 10, is the anniversary of the day that Cesar Chavez broke his first and most famous fast, in 1968. That ceremony produced what may be the most iconic photo of Chavez from that era, breaking his 25-day fast with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. (More on RFK and Chavez tomorrow, but here’s a link to a post […]

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Clothes make the man

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is the source of many famous quotes and aphorisms, including the paraphrase of a line from Polonius that we have come to know as the saying, “clothes make the man.” Cesar Chavez, who left school after 8th grade, had likely not discovered Shakespeare when the 25-year-old discovered his lifelong passion: community organizing. But he instinctively […]

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Chavez and King

Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr. never met. They overlapped only briefly in the national spotlight, though their names are often linked together because of they each championed civil rights and shared a very public commitment to non-violent protest. When John Lewis led marchers across the Edmund Pettus bridge on Bloody Sunday, fifty years ago today, […]

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March 31, Cesar Chavez’s birthday, is a state holiday in California, and President Obama regularly issues a proclamation of a national day of service. The intent of the 2000 law in California was not only to honor Chavez, but to draw attention to the life of this remarkable man, and in particular to educate students. There’s a long way to go. Sadly, I’ve […]

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Staring into History

The 27-year-old just stared at the photo of the young girl. Jose Barreto’s mother is 50; he had never seen a picture of her as a child. Now through a combination of chance and history and complicated threads, he sat in an El Centro kitchen, looking back four decades at a picture of a 10-year-old girl. […]

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Chavez at the Commonwealth Club

Thirty years ago next week, Cesar Chavez delivered one of his most memorable addresses, a speech to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco. Ronald Ronald Reagan had just been re-elected president in a landslide. The United Farm Workers union that Chavez had founded two decades earlier had lost most of its contracts and was in […]

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