Saturday is Cesar Chavez Day. The legendary co-founder of the United Farm Workers earned his place in the pantheon of American liberalism as a union organizer, a civil rights activist, and a cultural icon.
People refused to buy table grapes for years after he led a successful boycott in exchange for better working conditions for migrant farmworkers. Schools bear his name. He’s a hero among generations of Latinos and Chicanos. As historians Eric Foner and John A. Garrity tell it, Chavez dedicated his life to changing “wretched migrant camps, corrupt labor contractors, meager wages for backbreaking work, and bitter racism.” Noble goals all.
And yet that isn’t the whole story.
Chavez was a vehement immigration hawk, skeptical of unchecked legal immigration and stridently opposed to illegal immigration. He railed against porous borders, had no patience for progressive pieties, and rejected La Raza as manifestly racist.
The multicultural Left prefers to repress the uncomfortable facts about Chavez. Even his son, Paul, struggles to reconcile the canonized version of Cesar Chavez with the flesh and blood pro-immigration enforcement agitator that was his father. Paul Chavez claims even though his father opposed illegal immigrants as strikebreakers, Chavez accepted illegal immigrants as union members.
Read the full article in American Greatness.
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