Cesar Chavez and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement

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Cesar Chavez and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement
In the mid-1960s thousands of Chicanos, people of Mexican descent, walked off the California grape fields in which they worked in protest of exploitation and poor working conditions. They wanted fair wages, better working conditions, and education for their children. They wanted all the opportunities that were extended to other Americans. Among the disgruntled employees was the soft-spoken César Chávez, who believed that his people’s plight could be resolved through the mechanism of non-violent protests. Chief among these mechanisms were his firm belief in fasting and non-violent strikes. These beliefs were the combined result of his childhood experiences, significant
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In addition to their haphazard careers, the issue of racism and segregated schools also affected the quality of education received by Mexican American children. At school, the children were educated through the use of second-class equipment and by teachers who seldom took notice of the migrant children passing through. In addition to the attitude of indifference, Mexican American students were consistently barred from practicing their culture. For example, Chávez noted that he was prohibited from speaking Spanish, and students who disobeyed were made to wear a humiliating sign which declared that they were stupid simply because they spoke Spanish (64). Such acts of racism and the taunting received from Anglo students made the life of Mexican American students miserable.
However, the most significant deterrent to the education of Mexican American students was the pressure to quit school in order to earn additional income for their families. For instance, even Chávez was forced to quit school at the end of the eighth grade to provide additional income for his family (The Rhetorical Career 13). According to Jensen and Hammerback, experiences such as these gave the young César Chávez a first-hand taste, feel, smell, and touch of the agony and injustices that characterized the life of his people (13). Moreover, these experiences and César’s tenure as a field worker impregnated
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