Skip to main content

Reverend James Drake Papers

Identifier: LP000481

Scope and Content

The papers of Rev. James Drake cover his years spent with the United Farm Workers of America.

Important subjects covered in the collection include: Delano Grape Strikes, 1965-1970 Lettuce boycotts, 1970- 1975 Farm Labor Legislation Grape boycotts, 1973-1975

Among the important correspondents are: Boutilier, Eugene Imutan, Andrew Boyle, Eugene Itliong, Larry Chavez, Cesar Kircher, William Hartmire, Wayne C., Jr. Orendain, Antonio

Series Description: Series I, Correspondence, 1965-1969: Personal correspondence collected by Drake as administrative assistant for the United Farm Workers.

Series II, Subject Files, 1961-1977: Business and subject-related documents and correspondence related to the activities of the United Farm Workers.

Series III, Boycott Field Offices, 1967-1977: Boycott newsletters, fliers, and other documents published by boycott field offices in the United States and Canada.


  • 1961 - 1977


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


Jim Drake was born in Jefferson, Ohio on December 25, 1937. His family lived in Oklahoma until he was 10, when they moved to California. Drake graduated from Occidental College, where he studied philosophy, and from the Union Theological Seminary. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Drake was hired by the California Migrant Ministry in 1962 and sent to follow Cesar Chavez for three months in order to learn about labor organizing. Drake continued to work for Chavez and the United Farm Workers of America until 1978, serving as Chavez’s administrative assistant and coordinating national boycotts of table grapes. He continued to work with the California Migrant Ministry and other religious organizations throughout his time with the United Farm Workers.

Following his service to the United Farm Workers, Drake co-founded the Mississippi Pulpwood Cutters Association in 1979, and became an organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation and Valley Interfaith Organization in Texas Rio Grande Valley in 1983. Drake founded the South Bronx Churches coalition in 1987, which built more than 800 housing units (Nehemiah Homes) and a new high school. In 1994 he co-founded the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization to create similar housing units. Drake died on September 3, 2001.


4 Linear Feet (4 SB)


An ordained minister, Jim Drake worked for the California Migrant Ministry for over a decade. Concurrently, he learned about labor organizing from Cesar Chavez and worked for the UFW as Chavez's administrative assistant and coordinator of the national boycotts of table grapes. He would go on to found and organize various local union and faith-based organizations, mainly concerned with housing. His papers cover his tenure with the UFW.


Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 1-3) and Series 3 (Boxes 3-4). Folders are arranged alphabetically (Series 1 and 3) and chronologically (Series 2).

Related Materials

Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, National Farm Workers Association, Sydney D. Smith Collection (includes Drake oral history transcript), United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, UFW Office of the President: Cesar Chavez Collection, Parts 1,2,3, and UFW: Information and Research Collection Parts 1 and 2.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in August 2007.


Guide to the Reverend James Drake Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA