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Cesar Chavez delivers a speech to the supporters of the United Farmworkers Union (July 26, 1975)

The Art of Storytelling Continues With Mimi Plumb

The Art of Storytelling brings you “Pictures from the Field”

photographs taken by Mimi Plumb

Opening Reception on October 19th in Oakland

It was July 1975 in the sun-drenched Salinas Valley. Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers Union had ten days and 1,000 miles on foot to raise awareness throughout farmworker communities that for the first time they would be able to petition for state-sponsored elections and cast secret ballots for the union of their choice. The marchers were at the beginning of their journey with eight more cities and eight days left. They stopped to rest at Camp Roberts, an Army base right off of Highway 101, where  Chavez took this moment of weariness to give a speech about the importance of the new state law Governor Jerry Brown giving farmworkers the right to protected union activity and state-sponsored elections.

In 2015, California Humanities was pleased to provide a grant to develop a web-based art and history exhibit called “Democracy in the Fields” that explores the stories of farmworkers who supported Cesar Chavez in his July 1975 march from the U.S.A.- Mexico border and through the Salinas Valley. Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of the biography “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” Miriam Pawel, met photographer Mimi Plumb, who had spent the summer of 1975 following Cesar Chavez and his supporters with a 35mm camera. “Democracy in the Fields”, curated by Pawel, is an attempt to preserve a piece of rapidly disappearing history found in Plumb’s photographs and the stories she and Miriam Pawel unearthed. The website, which launched in spring 2016, is designed to expand as people identify friends and relatives in the photographs and add their own recollections of that summer.

The leaders and the activists of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers Union movement weren’t groomed orators or politicians – they were regular people, with families and personal responsibilities, whose struggle to find opportunities to raise their voice and control their destinies became their new job in and around the field.

Join us and Mimi Plumb on Thursday, October 19th for the opening reception for the next exhibit in The Art of Storytelling series “Pictures from the Field”, a selection of photographs taken by Plumb in the summer of 1975.  The evening will include a special conversation with Miriam Pawel about the farmworker movement, Cesar Chavez, and preserving a part of California history.

Please email nbalram@calhum.org to RSVP for the opening reception at the California Humanities office in Oakland. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

California Humanities
Second Floor of Swan’s Market
(Accessible by Market elevator or courtyard stairs)
538 9th Street, Suite 210, Oakland, CA

5:30 – 7:30 PM Exhibit opening and refreshments at California Humanities
6:00 PM Remarks from featured artist Mimi Plumb &
Miriam Pawel, journalist and author of The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

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