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The Farmworkers' Angry Champion

From: Dick Meister
Length: 03:23

Ernesto Galarza, now largely forgotten, played a key role in the rise of the farm labor movement led by Cesar Chavez.

Default-piece-image-2 If it hadn't been for Ernesto Galarza, the farm labor movement led by Cesar Chavez might not have emerged. The now-forgotten Galarza waged a long campaign against the infamous bracero program whose existence made the organizing of farmworkers impossible. It took Galarza and his supporters more than a dozen years of struggle to win abolition of the program, and it was only then that Chavez was able to mount his campaign to unionize farmworkers and thus enable them to win the decent working and living conditions that Galarza had sought for them.

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Piece Description

If it hadn't been for Ernesto Galarza, the farm labor movement led by Cesar Chavez might not have emerged. The now-forgotten Galarza waged a long campaign against the infamous bracero program whose existence made the organizing of farmworkers impossible. It took Galarza and his supporters more than a dozen years of struggle to win abolition of the program, and it was only then that Chavez was able to mount his campaign to unionize farmworkers and thus enable them to win the decent working and living conditions that Galarza had sought for them.

Broadcast History

None.

Transcript

Much is made of cesar chavez? role in the struggle to bring a decent life
to the country?s miserably treated farmworkers . And much should be made of
Chavez. But let me remind you of another extremely important champion of
farmworkers who?s been largely forgotten ? Ernesto Galarza.

Galarza has been dead now for more than 20 years. But I recall him well. His
shining, black hair and fierce, penetrating gaze. His angry, intense words
and slashing speeches against those who resisted demands for reforms. His
scholarly writing, novels, poetry, and his teaching.

Galarza was one of the loudest and most unusual of the voices that have been
raised for the farmworker. He had a Ph.D ? wrote a half-dozen books and
numerous pamphlets and articles? and taught at all levels, from elementary
school to university.

Yet he also was an active union organizer ? a key leader in laying...
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Timing and Cues

INTRO: Commentator Dick Meister says there's a major farm labor leader who's been all but forgotten.

OUTRO: Dick Meister is co-author of "A Long Time Coming: The Struggle to Unionize America's Farm Workers."