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The Farm Workers' Filipino American Champion

From: Dick Meister
Length: 05:53

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It's time to honor Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong, who played a key role in formation of the United Farm Workers union.

Dick_meister_small It's time we honored largely-forgotten farm union leader Larry Itliong, who brought Filipino farm workers into a partnership with Mexican American workers headed by Cesar Chavez that led to formation of the United Farm Workers union.

Piece Description

It's time we honored largely-forgotten farm union leader Larry Itliong, who brought Filipino farm workers into a partnership with Mexican American workers headed by Cesar Chavez that led to formation of the United Farm Workers union.

Broadcast History

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Transcript

The birth date of Cesar Chavez, the late farm workers' leader, will be celebrated next month. And rightly so. But it's well past time we also celebrated the life of probably the most important of the other leaders who played a major role in winning union rights for farm workers and otherwise helping them combat serious exploitation.

That's Larry Itliong. He died 35 years ago this month at age 63. Itliong got involved in the farm workers' struggle very early in life, not long after he arrived as a 15-year-old immigrant from the Philippine Islands, among some 31,000 men who came to California in the late 1920s.

They migrated throughout the state doing low-paying farm work, isolated from the rest of society and discriminated against because of their race. They were prohibited from marrying Caucasians, from buying land and otherwise integrating into the community at large.

The Filipinos...
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Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Commentator Dick Meister says it's time to honor an often forgotten but extremely important farm union leader.

OUTRO:

Dick Meister, a longtime labor journalist, is co-author of "A Long Time Coming: The Struggle To Unionize America's Farm Workers."