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Dolores Huerta Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP001861
Subjects AFL-CIO Agricultural laborers—United States Agricultural Labor Relations Board (California) Alien labor—Government policy—United States Boycotts—United States Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) Collective bargaining—Agricultural—United States National Executive Board (UFW) Strikes and lockouts—Agricultural laborers—United States United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Series Description: The papers primarily deal with boycotts, strikes, and the ongoing struggle for workers’ rights and organizations involved in such matters.

Dates

  • 1970 - 1995

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

32 Linear Feet (32 SB)

Abstract

Dolores Huerta champions the rights of farm workers and Latinos. As a young teacher her experiences in classrooms filled with hungry children of migrant farm workers led her to believe that an even greater need was organizing farm workers. Dolores first met Cesar Chavez in the late 1950s while organizing farm workers under the name of the Agricultural Workers Association. In 1962 they founded the National Farm Workers Association in Delano, California. Today, Dolores Huerta continues to place La Causa first. She remains a boundlessly energetic and charismatic leader for the United Farm Workers union as an executive board member, union negotiator and lecturer. In addition, Huerta has been honored with numerous awards across the country for her work as an advocate for the rights of women, immigrants and people of color.

The papers of Dolores Huerta primarily deal with boycotts, strikes, and the ongoing struggle for workers’ rights and organizations involved in such matters.

History

Dolores Huerta has been championing the rights of farm workers and Latinos. “It’s in my blood,” she has often said. Indeed, her father, Juan Fernandez was a miner, field worker and union activist. And her mother, Alicia Chavez, was a community activist in Stockton, California. Dolores learned as a child from the activist community that nurtured her that action causes change. As a college student in the 1950s, Huerta spent more time attending political rallies than focusing on her studies.

As a young teacher her experiences in classrooms filled with hungry children of migrant farm workers led her to believe that an even greater need was organizing farm workers. After this brief teaching stint her life’s course was set. Huerta remembered her teaching experience this way, “I know this sounds weak, but the job was just too much for me. I couldn’t stand seeing the children coming to school barefoot, so hungry, so poor.”

Dolores first met Cesar Chavez in the late 1950s while organizing farm workers under the name of the Agricultural Workers Association. In 1962 Huerta and Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association in Delano, California, and by 1965 membership had risen to 1200 member families, mostly Latino. During the next ten years Huerta directed the grape, lettuce, and Gallo wine boycotts which led to the enactment of the first state legislation protecting farm workers right to organize. This California law was called the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (CALRA) and was passed in 1975.

La Causa (the farm workers’ cause) came first, even during pregnancies. Huerta was often seen nursing babies during breaks in contract negotiations and organizing meetings. Her eleven children admit that there were a lot of sacrifices along the way. While Dolores was organizing farm workers, her children would stay with friends and relatives, and in many instances lived on donated food and clothing. For her efforts and struggles during those years Huerta was earning between $5 and $35 a week.

In 2002, Huerta founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation—a community self-help based organization designed to educate individuals who live in poor and working class areas. She is currently serving as president and continues to dedicate most of her time community organizing in under-represented areas in California.

Today, Dolores Huerta continues to place La Causa first. She remains a boundlessly energetic and charismatic leader for the United Farm Workers union as an executive board member, union negotiator and lecturer. In addition, Huerta has been honored with numerous awards across the country for her work as an advocate for the rights of women, immigrants and people of color.

Arrangement

Folders are listed in the order they appear.

Acquisition

The Dolores Huerta Collection was deposited into the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in installments from 1978 to 2000.

Related Materials

UFW Collections

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Title
Guide to the Dolores Huerta Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
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Detroit MI 48202 USA