1891, Portrait Gallery
A farmworker’s initiative improved lives in America’s fields, and beyond
Author Miriam Pawel writes in our 101 Objects Special Issue:
Five decades ago, a 35-year-old Mexican-American applied for unemployment in Bakersfield, California, and argued with the caseworker about how to characterize his previous job. He rejected each option: clerk, playground supervisor, intermediate social worker with a second language. None, he said, described what he did. Community organizer was not part of the American lexicon in April 1962. Neither was the name Cesar Chavez. Only seven years later, he would be on the cover of Time magazine.
Read more of Pawel's essay.