18 Mysterious Cesar Chavez Facts that You Might Know

Welcome, little fact-enthusiasts, to take a look at the life and achievements of the civil rights activist and American labor leader Cesar Chavez😲!

From waging a nonviolent campaign for farm workers to co-founding the National Farm Workers Association, this famous person has several important facts to offer!

This article will provide some wonderful facts about Cesar Chavez that will completely amaze you!

Let us start the fact-finding journey!

Fascinating Cesar Chavez Facts

Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma

Cesar Chavez Was Born In Yuma

On March 31, 1927, Cesar Estrada Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona, to a Mexican family. 

He was named after his grandfather🧓 Cesario Chavez, who was a Mexican leader and crossed into Texas in 1898. 

Cesar’s father Librado Chavez, was the youngest child of Cesar’s grandfather.

Later, in the early 1920s, Librado married Juana Estrada Chavez. Cesar was Librado and Juana’s first son.

However, in the late 1930s, Chavez’s family lost their homestead to foreclosure. 

They joined over 300,000 people who moved to California. 

This happened during the Great Depression, and became migrant farm workers. 

Chavez attended around 38 different schools before 8th grade

As migrant farm workers, Cesar Chavez’s family needed to move often when he was young. That resulted in his changing schools almost 38 times😲. Amazing, right?

Though he himself experienced very limited schooling, he still advocated education as a means for social improvement. 

For various reasons, Chavez did not like school! 

One of those was he only spoke Spanish; however, his teachers only spoke English! 

Second was because he felt that education had nothing to do with his way of life as a farm worker. Third was because of segregation. 

Chavez’s father was involved in an accident

Chavez’s Father

Like me, you will be quite depressed to learn this unfortunate fact about Cesar Chavez!

In the year 1942, his father was involved in an accident. 

As Cesar did not like his mother to work in the fields, so he became a migrant farm worker. 

Later, he dropped out of school 🏛️only after eighth grade and started working in the fields full-time.

Chavez in 1944: He was enlisted in the United States Navy

Did you know this interesting fact about Cesar Chavez?? No?? Let me explain.

Chavez was enlisted in the United States Navy🚢 in 1944 and was sent to the Naval Training Center San Diego. 

First, he was stationed in Saipan, at the U.S. base, and later moved to Guam. 

After being promoted to the rank of seaman first class, he was stationed in San Francisco. 

Later, from there, he received an honorable discharge in 1946 and joined his family in Delano, California.

Chavez in 1948: Know about his marriage with Helen Fabela

Chavez In 1948

Chavez entered a relationship with Helen Fabela, 👰‍♀️who became pregnant not long after. On October 1948, they got married in Reno, Nevada. 

Actually, it was a double wedding, as Chavez’s sister Rita also married her fiancé at the same ceremony. 

By early 1949, Chavez and Helen had settled in San Jose’s Sal Si Puedes neighborhood. 

Together they had eight children; Fernando, Sylvia, Linda, Eloise, Anna, Paul, Elizabeth, and Anthony. 

Helen loved to stay out of the limelight, a trait that Chavez admired. 

So, while Chavez led the union, she focused on cooking, raising children, and housekeeping.

Chavez inspired Obama: Obama’s slogan “Yes We Can” was inspired by him

In 1972, during a 25-day fast, Huerta and Chavez coined the slogan “Si, se puede,” this is Spanish for “Yes, it can be done.” 

It became the official motto of the UFW and a rallying cry for Latino civil rights in general.  

Later, it inspired the phrase “Yes, we can” for the 2008 election campaign for President Obama. 

First, President Barack Obama opted for the English version of “Yes, we can!” during the Democratic Party of Illinois primaries. 

The term became a slogan of his presidential campaign in 2008. Later, it was also the theme of Senator Obama’s speech.

Cesar Chavez was interested in the anti-drug cult Synanon

Cesar Chavez In Anti-Drug Cult Synanon

In his later years, Cesar learned modern management techniques and group dynamics. 

This included a unique drug rehab program, an “alternative lifestyle community,” and a religious cult known as Synanon.

At that time, the UFW was struggling with dwindling motivation and members. 

His thought was to turn it into a “movement.” During that time, Chavez fell under a spell of a cult leader. That leader was Charles Dederich, the founder of Synanon. 

He brought a practice from the cult known as “The Game” to UFW. 

In that, people were put in the middle of a small arena and accused of incompetence and disloyalty.

Chavez meeting a dictator: He lost support for this

In 1977, Chavez was criticized for accepting an invitation offered by Ferdinand Marcos to Manila. 

This was a 20-year president of the Philippines who was accused of human rights abuses and corruption. 

Chavez wished to win support from Filipino-American farm workers😲!

This meeting of Chavez and Marcos was quite a gross miscalculation! 

He even listened to the union leaders of Filipino who painted Marcos as a friend of the farm workers’ movement. 

Also, they convinced Chavez that endorsing the tyrant might help strengthen the support of the UFW among Filipinos.  

Later, it proved to be a major political blunder!!

Chavez befriended two social justice activists

Chavez Befriended Two Social Justice Activists

Little fact explorers, have you heard this interesting fact about Cesar Chavez?

Chavez became friends with two social justice activists, Father Donald McDonnell and Fred Ross. 

Both of them were European-Americans whose activism was mainly within the Mexican-American community.

Chavez helped McDonnell to build the first purpose-built church in Sal Si Puedes, the Our Lady of Guadalupe church. 

In turn, McDonnell lent Chavez books to read, which inspired Chavez to read more.

Chavez helped Ross in establishing a chapter of his CSO or Community Service Organization in San Jose. 

Chavez became a vegetarian: He was inspired by his dog

I am quite amazed to learn this amazing secret about Cesar Chavez!

Chavez became a vegetarian🥗 after he felt that animals felt cold, afraid, unhappy, and hungry, just like us humans. 

His dog Boycott inspired him to question the right of humans to eat other beings!

He believed that humans must learn to become non-violent toward their fellow creatures to be content. 

He supported the idea that compassion and kindness towards all living beings was a sign of a civilized society. 

That economic deprival, racism, cockfighting, dogfighting, etc., were all cut from the same defective fabric; violence!

Chavez at the age of 61: He fasted for 36 days

Chavez fasted for 36 days

Under Chavez, the UFW helped in securing union contracts that needed protective clothing to reduce the exposure of workers to pesticides. 

It prevented spraying while workers were working in the fields. To protest pesticides’ use on grapes, Chavez fasted for 36 days in 1988, at the age of 61.

He called it a declaration of non-cooperation with those supermarkets who sold or promoted California table grapes. 

He was against the pesticides that were being used on the land. 

On August 21, 1988, Cesar completed his 36-day Fast for Life. The Reverend Jesse Jackson took up where Cesar left off. 

 Explore some of Chavez’s hobbies

Have you heard about the hobbies of Chavez?

Chavez was a fan of the music of Duke Ellington and big band music🎼. He was an amateur photographer and even enjoyed dancing.

Chavez was a keen gardener, and used to make his own compost to grow vegetables. He had two German shepherd dogs for personal protection named Boycott and Huelga. 

He was not a fan of telephone conversations, suspecting that his phone line was bugged. He was quite a dedicated person, as once he accepted an idea, he would dedicate himself to it completely.

Cesar turned down lucrative jobs for greater cause

Cesar Turned Down Lucrative Jobs

On March 31, in 1962, Cesar quit his job and moved with his family to a dusty farm town, in Central Valley of California. 

He founded the NFW with his wife Helen, and their eight children using all his savings!

In 1962, President Kennedy offered to make Chavez the head of the Peace Corps for part of Latin America. 

Though it was a great opportunity, he still turned down the job.

Chavez embraced a life of poverty and never owned a house!

So, he passed away at the age of 66, without leaving any money behind for his family.

Cesar got Americans to boycott grapes

Cesar harnessed public outrage to receive unprecedented gains for farmworkers. 

He made over 17 million Americans to boycott grapes… to help to California farmworkers win contracts!!

He helped farmworkers to discover that they could demand better wages and dignity. 

Volunteers even learned tactics that they used to put in other social movements. 

People who didn’t buy grapes realized that a small gesture might help force historic change.

The uproar resulted in California to pass the Agricultural Labour Relations Act of 1975. 

This was the country’s first law that guaranteed farmworkers the right to select, organize their union representatives. 

Cesar Chavez: His birthday is a holiday

Cesar Chavez's Birthday Is A Holiday

Chavez’s birthday, March 31st, is an official holiday in almost ten states! 

Cesar Chavez Day is regarded as a holiday to honor his enduring legacy. 

This specific day was initiated in 2014, by President Barack Obama.

Through his non-violent protests and persistent efforts, he became a famous labor rights hero of America. 

On March 31st, community leaders and union members celebrate the life of this icon. 

Chavez inspired many workers by his four decades of selfless service to the workers of the United States. T

o honor his life and works, some state government offices, libraries📚, community colleges 🏛️ are closed.

Cesar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

“Si se puede!” or “Yes, it can be done!” the famous motto of Chavez embodies the uncommon legacy that he left for people around the globe. 

Since his death, numerous communities across the country have named parks, schools, streets, libraries, and some other public facilities, along with scholarships and awards in his honor. 

In 1994, Cesar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom 🥇by President Clinton. 

It is the nation’s highest civilian honor!! 

Cesar was a common man with uncommon vision. 

Hence, he fought for justice, equality, and dignity for all Americans! His universal principals are relevant, still today!

Chavez got many supporters or ‘Chavistas’

Chavez Got ‘Chavistas’

Have you heard this interesting secret about Chavez?

During his lifetime, many people supported him or even idolized him, engaging in a form of hero worship. 

According to burns, his supporters, “nearly worshipped him as a folk hero.” 

Even the American county music singer Kris Kristofferson called Chavez “the only true hero we have walking on this Earth today.” 

These blind supporters of Cesar Chavez were known as “Chavistas,” and many of them even followed vegetarian diet!

By the 1970s, Chavez was increasingly referred to as a ‘saint’ among his supporters. However, he was despised by many growers as well. 

Chavez is honored and remembered in many ways

I am really fascinated by exploring this interesting secret about Chavez!

In the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., there is a portrait 🖼️ of Chavez. 

Moreover, in 2003, the United States Postal Service even honored him with a postage stamp. Quite amazing, isn’t it?

Summing up

So, little knowledge lovers, now you know a lot about Cesar Chavez😲!

We will be eagerly waiting for your feedback……as only after knowing your views we can start thinking about our future content😲!!

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