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César Chávez facts for kids

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Cesar Chavez
Cesar chavez crop2.jpg
Chavez in 1974
César Estrada Chávez

(1927-03-31)March 31, 1927
Yuma, Arizona, U.S.
Died April 23, 1993(1993-04-23) (aged 66)
  • Librado Chávez (father)
  • Juana Estrada Chávez (mother)

Cesar Chavez (born César Estrada Chávez (March 31, 1927 – April 23, 1993) was an American farmworker, labor leader and civil rights activist. Chávez started the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) along with Dolores Huerta. He wanted equal rights for Mexicans working in the United States. This union became the United Farm Workers. He led a boycott against grape companies to gain rights for workers. Chávez used nonviolence to make these changes. Chavez is thought of as one of the leaders in the movement for Chicanos to gain more rights in the late-20th century.

Early life

Chávez was born near Yuma, Arizona and went to over 37 schools. He graduated from the eighth grade. He did most of his organizing in California, especially near Bakersfield. Fred Ross taught him to lead unions. Fred Ross was a student of Saul Alinsky.


In 1965, Chávez and the NFWA started a strike for grape-pickers in California. At the same time, he asked Americans to boycott grapes from California. In 1970, the migrant workers won their fight for better pay.

He kept working against unfair labor rules. He stopped eating in protest three times because of low pay and bad working conditions. When he died, was leading another grape boycott to stop the use of pesticides.


Chávez is respected in California and other states. In 2000, California's state legislature started a holiday to honor him. The holiday is on March 31, Chávez's birthday. This is the first time that a US public holiday honored a Mexican American or a union leader. Many cities have streets or places named for him. These cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, and Salt Lake City. In 1998 he was inducted into the Hall of Honor by the United States Department of Labor.

Interesting facts about Cesar Chavez

  • His slogan in 1972 was “Si, se puede,” Spanish for “Yes, it can be done.” This became the Latino civil rights motto and also inspired Barack Obama's “Yes we can” motto from his presidential campaign in 2008.
  • As a child, Chavez was nicknamed "Manzi" in reference to his fondness for manzanilla tea.
  • One of six children, he had two sisters, Rita and Vicki, and two brothers, Richard and Librado.
  • In California, he moved schools many times.
  • In 2014 President Barack Obama proclaimed March 31 "Cesar Chavez Day" in the United States.
  • He had eight children.

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