Cesar Chavez National Monument
Cesar Chavez National Monument is dedicated to farm worker and union activist, Cesar Chavez. This National Historical Landmark is located in Nuestra Senora Renia de la Paz in Keene, California. Chavez worked to organize a predominantly Latino population of farm workers in California, ultimately securing contracts for these women and men that led to better benefits and a safer work environment. The site includes a visitor center and memorial garden where Chavez's remains were buried.
Backstory and Context
Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona on his family’s farm. When Chavez was 11, his family lost the family farm during the Great Depression. He and his family were desperate to find work, so they become migrant farm workers. He traveled around with his family as laborers in fields, orchards, and vineyards. Throughout his youth, Chavez had to face the hardship of hard labor. Chavez went to school until eighth grade and then became a full time worker in the fields to help his family. Chavez sought out better conditions for farm laborers after enduring it his whole life.
Cesar Chavez created the United Farm Workers of America in 1962. He thought of workers as people, not just help. He wanted to create the union to help anyone no matter their ethnicity or race. He stated, "The color of our skins, the languages of our cultural and native origins, the lack of formal education, the exclusion from the democratic process, the numbers of our slain in recent wars - all these burdens generation after generation have sought to demoralize us, to break our human spirit." Chavez’s goal was to equalize field labor workers. Today the foundation achieves all of his goals by helping families in need of work. The Cesar Chavez National Monument is a great tourist destination. The Museum includes his home and shows Chavez’s library and his grave in the memorial gardens. Cesar Chavez helped many labor workers have the benefits they deserve and with his founding foundation this dream is still alive and helping millions of other American field workers.