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Hispanic Heritage
Standing Up for Workers - Cesar Estrada Chavez



Standing Up for Workers - Cesar Estrada Chavez
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.52

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    fasts, non-violence, activate, migrant, civil, fasted, victory, lasted, defeat, difficulty, camps, well-known, frequently, public, strike, discouragement
     content words:    Cesar Estrada Chavez, Mexican American, World War II, Helen Fabela, Community Services Organization, National Farm Workers Association, Robert Kennedy, United Farm Workers, United States Postal Service


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Standing Up for Workers - Cesar Estrada Chavez
By Beth Beutler
  

1     How would you feel if you needed to spend most of your days working on a farm harvesting grapes and other produce for low wages? Many workers have spent years doing just that. They would travel from farm to farm, being hired for a season to work the fields. They would often live in camps or sleep in their cars.
 
2     Cesar Estrada Chavez was one of those workers. Cesar was a Mexican American who was born near Yuma, Arizona on March 31, 1927. He grew up on and around farms, moving frequently, and attending as many as thirty-seven different schools until he quit school after graduating from the eighth grade. He went to the fields full-time to support his family after his father had been in an accident. He worked in the fields for two years, and then served two years in the Navy during World War II. After completing his service, he returned and married Helen Fabela, and together they raised seven children.
 
3     Life in the fields was difficult, especially since many migrant workers were paid very low wages. At times, workers were treated unfairly, and Cesar had experienced some of this himself while growing up. At one point, his family's small home was taken from them dishonestly. At other times, Cesar and his friends experienced mistreatment due to prejudice against the Mexican workers. He had difficulty in school because of this, and because his native language, Spanish, was not used in school.

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