Mighty Hard Road Critical Context - Essay

Kathryn Cramer, James P. Terzian

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Mighty Hard Road is one of the few biographies of Chávez available for young people within this age group. A book by Florence M. White, Cesar Chavez: Man of Courage (1973), is aimed at a younger audience. Jan Young’s book The Migrant Workers and Cesar Chavez (1972) focuses more explicitly on the farm labor movement itself. Chávez is depicted as a role model for children. The book emphasizes the importance of education but retains an optimism that one can accomplish goals despite humble beginnings. The book may provide a positive example for Hispanic-American children, as Chávez devoted himself selflessly to the cause of his people, as well as to the cause of farm workers in general.

Mighty Hard Road also offers to young people a history lesson about the difficulties that labor unions have encountered in the United States as they have attempted to organize workers. While the text does not make reference to labor unions in a historical context, it may be viewed as providing a case study of the issues that labor unions faced in the twentieth century.

The book is significant because it focuses on a figure whose leadership caught the imagination and gained the support of many politicians and celebrities during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Chávez is portrayed as a heroic figure by virtue of his accomplishments and his selfless dedication to a worthy cause. Many Hispanics continue to fight discrimination as they try to obtain important positions in politics and business. This biography of Chávez is important because it offers to young people one example of the contributions made by a Hispanic American and a great leader.