Perfect choices, Donald!
Editor's Note: This week in 1968, Cesar Chavez ended a twenty-three-day fast in solidarity with American farm workers, joined by four thousand supporters. Known for his tireless work in organizing a farm workers union, particularly in Delano, California, Chavez was profiled in The Progressive's July 1966 issue. Reporter James L. Vizzard observed,
Chavez does not seek personal recognition, and praise only embarrasses him. A recent letter of his makes that clear and also provides a remarkable insight into the kind of man he is. In turning down a national award for which he was chosen, he wrote: "What has happened in Delano during the past year is not the work of any one man and I do not believe it would be fitting to honor any one. We, as a group, can only bring honor by continuing to fight here in Delano and by continuing to remain non-violent in our struggle.
"The danger among our farm workers, indeed among anyone who becomes suddenly press-worthy, is that we lose sight of ourselves and of our real place in society. I believe that there is an ever-present danger that we will lose our humility, then our loyalty to performing menial tasks, then our tie to the small people, and then our cause. When we are honored or acclaimed, I believe that we risk all this.
"Please thank the members of your group for their kind offer."
So speaks the man who is determined to lead his people out of bondage, the leader who provides the greatest hope of our generation that the isolated and exploited farm worker will be brought into the mainstream of American life.
Download the full piece in PDF form below. Image credit: Joel Levine