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LA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story
LA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story
(Dana Catharine de Ruiz, Alex Haley, Richard Larios, Rudy Gutierrez)

LA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' StoryLA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story
LA Causa describes the efforts in the 1960s of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to organize migrant workers in California into a union which became the United Farm Workers.
This is about the struggle of the migrant farmworkers and the role of their leaders, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, in organizing the United Farm Workers union in the 1960s. The authors spoke with Huerta, and all quotes are as recorded or remembered by the participants.
The story is told with immediacy and drama: eyewitness accounts of the harsh working conditions, long hours, poor pay; the struggle to organize a scattered labor force always on the move; strikes and confrontations on the picket lines; and the long march to Sacramento. Influenced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Chavez was committed to nonviolence, and the parallels with the civil-rights movement are emphasized. Notes at the end provide further background; there's a brief bibliography, and several full-page drawings capture the stark confrontation.
Dana Catharine de Ruiz is a published author of several children's books. Some of her credits include: LA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story (Stories of America) and To Fly With The Swallows: A Story of Old California (Stories of America).
Rudy Gutierrez is a published author and illustrator of children's books. Some of his credits include: LA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story (Stories of America), Trapped!: Cages of Mind and Body and Malcolm X (Trophy Chapter Books).
Alex Haley, as General Editor, wrote the following introduction:
Introduction By Alex Haley, General Editor
The story of David and Goliath is a familiar one. A young boy is called to fight a giant warrior. One is armed with a great sword, a powerful shield, and years of fighting experience. The other, the boy, is dressed in the clothes of a shepherd. He has no sword and probably couldn't lift one if he had. He has never fought in a battle. He also has faith and courage—faith in the necessity of his being there to fight this battle, and the courage to act.
The story you are about to read is about a union of Davids. They are poor people, migrant farmworkers who harvest the food we eat as they move from place to place in search of work. They work hard and with dignity. They get paid very little and have nothing to make the job easier or more rewarding. They don't have real homes. Their children don't go to school regularly. They don't have much of anything. They are Davids who are so poor that they don't even have a slingshot. This is a story about how they find one. ~ Alex Haley.
(The above Foreword by Alex Haley is presented under the Creative Commons License. © 1993 Dialogue Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
LA Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story • Reviews
"The book is artfully written so that even an adult can gain valuable insight. Cesar Chavez' story is inspiring and challenges all to question the status quo. One chapter may be a little graphic for some young children, I skipped it in my class. But overall, tremendous, and one of my Hispanic-American students said it is one of the best books ever read to them." - Garden Grove, California.
"Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta dedicate their lives to ending the exploitation of migrant farmworkers. Through nonviolent protest, they struggle to build a union despite the resistance of wealthy farm owners." - Cesar Chavez Foundation.
"LA Causa is a modern David-and-Goliath tale that recounts the life of Cesar Chavez, who fought on behalf of, and alongside, poor migrant farmworkers paid too little to live." - Cambium Learning.
"LA Causa is about Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who started the National Farm Workers Association. This book chronicled how the farm workers rallied for better treatment and better wages. It was an important time in California history." - Hilldale Herald.
"This book tells the ever-important story of those people who do backbreaking labor, hour after hour, day after day, for basic wages, with few benefits most of us take for granted. Although the book tells of the founding of the United Farm Workers Union, the issues of social justice facing migrant farmworkers remain as current as they did a century ago. This is a book every school child and parent should read. This book tells of the conditions that led Cesar Chavez and his wife, Delores Huerta, to organize and found the United Farm Workers in the face of considerable personal danger and against strong odds. An epilogue and afterword tells of the contribution of Chavez and the union, along with the challenges these largely invisible people face today." - Flanders, New Jersey.
"LA Causa is a crisp, clear accounting of the founding of the National Farm Workers Association in the 1960s. Brief biographical sketches of Chavez and Dolores Huerta tell of their meeting and deciding to work together to organize a union to help their fellow workers. The book ends as a first grape boycott and NFWA strike are settled." - School Library Journal.

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