César Chávez

image for César Chávez
Exhibition Label
Encouraged by victories of the black civil rights movement, labor organizer César Chávez began in the early 1960s to protest the unfair treatment of farm workers in California and the Southwest. In 1962 he and Dolores Huerta founded the National Farm Workers Association. Three years later, their mainly Mexican and Mexican American union joined the Filipino-based Agricultural Farm Workers Organizing Committee in a strike of grape field workers in Delano. Soon both unions merged under the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), the first effective national organization to represent agricultural workers and press for political reform. Farm workers sustained the strike for five years, and also engaged many sympathetic Americans in their struggle, “la causa,” through a consumer boycott of table grapes. Time magazine published this portrait as its cover image in 1969, four years into the strike and boycott. An Aztec eagle, the symbol of the UFW, is emblazoned on Chávez's shirt.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Manuel Acosta
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Manuel Acosta, 9 May 1921 - 25 Oct 1989
César Estrada Chávez, 31 Mar 1927 - 23 Apr 1993
Costume\Dress Accessory\Button
César Estrada Chávez: Male
César Estrada Chávez: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Labor leader
César Estrada Chávez: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist
César Estrada Chávez: Military\Navy
César Estrada Chávez: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 61 x 50.8 x 2.5cm (24 x 20 x 1")
Frame: 76.2 x 66 x 5.7cm (30 x 26 x 2 1/4")
National Portrait Gallery