A Soldier's Story: Sergeant French Vineyard

A Sailor's Story: Seaman Cesar Chavez

Cesar Estrada Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, in Yuma, Arizona.  During the Great Depression, his family lost their ranch, grocery store, and farm, forcing the family to move to California and become migrant farmworkers.

Cesar Chavez quit school in 1942, to help support the family, joining the U.S. Navy in 1946 with a two-year contract.  Seaman Chavez fulfilled his contract with an honorable discharge in 1948 and returned to farm work until 1952.

In 1952, Seaman Chavez began pursuing the cause of the Mexican American agricultural worker, organizing the Community Service Organization (CSO), and, in 1962 founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) (later called  United Farm Workers UFW) with Dolores Huerta.

Through the NFWA, he organized and supported strikes for farmworkers, winning concessions in wages and working conditions, including the California Agriculture Labor Relations Act and the ending of the Bracero Program.

Seaman Chavez was a lifelong supporter of equality and civil rights,  he also was a vegan who routinely fasted for health and clarity.

He died on April 23, 1993, and is buried at the National Chavez Center in California.

Cesar Chavez's achievements earned him the Jefferson award, the Pacem in Terris award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

March 31 has been dedicated "Cesar Chavez" day.