The Life of Cesar Chavez, Part 1

Cesar Chavez was a famous Mexican-American. He was a labor leader. He worked to get better wages and living conditions for migrant farm workers. Cesar and his family had been migrant workers. They had moved from place to place to work on farms, planting and harvesting crops for the farm owners. Cesar had seen for himself how large growers sometimes took advantage of poor workers. He worked to organize an agricultural labor union. The union brought workers together. The union could bargain with employers for higher wages and better working conditions.

Cesar was born on March 31, 1927, near Yuma, Arizona. His grandfather had come to the United States from Mexico over forty years earlier. Cesar's family lived on the same land his grandfather had homesteaded in the 1880s. Cesar and his five brothers and sisters helped their parents on the farm and in the small grocery store they owned. The Great Depression that began in 1929 caused many businesses and banks to close in the United States. Most people didn't have any money to spend. The Chavez family's store had to shut down. They worked their own farm and were able to eke out a living.

Then in 1933, a drought wiped out their farm crops. They couldn't make their mortgage payments to the bank, and the family lost their land, too. To make money, the Chavez family, like many other American families during the Great Depression, moved to California. They worked on farms picking fruits and vegetables. They became migrant workers.

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