What methods did Cesar Chavez use to support the strike against grape growers?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I thought that one of Chavez's most effective methods was to call for nonviolent, but active opposition to the methods of the grape growers against the workers.  Chavez was able to pull from Dr. King's methodology in trying to stress a sense of dignity for the workers in their opposition to management techniques.  In calling for nonviolence, Chavez was able to raise the moral stature of the workers and elevate the discussion into one of human rights.  In making it an issue of basic human dignity and not as much rooted in economics or politics, Chavez was able to appeal to the human element in bringing more people into his side.  Calling for nonviolence allowed Chavez to also assume the moral high ground and made the grape owners not merely wealthy, but appear (in most cases, quite accurately) as violating the basic human tenets of the workers.  In doing this, Chavez recognized how Americans reacted to the points and methods of King in showing America the shame of its treatment of people of color, specifically African- Americans.  Chavez ends up attempting to replicate the same conditions in his struggle against the grape growers.

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The grape growers strike was already underway when Cesar Chavez became involved. He organized other workers in grape vineyards in California to join in the strike and organized a nationwide boycott of California Grapes. Throughout his efforts, he insisted that any resistance be non-violent, and at one point began a fast to protest violence.

The strike lasted for over five years, until the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare held hearings on the dispute. At that point, then Senator Robert F. Kennedy indicated that he supported the efforts of the strikers. Thereafter, Chavez organization, the United Farm Workers, worked for fair wages and treatment in Texas and other agricultural states.

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