From the Archives: Remembering Cesar Chavez
March 31 is Cesar Chavez's birthday and a holiday in California, Colorado and Texas.
When Chavez died on April 23, 1993, staff writer George Ramos wrote The Times obituary published the next morning. He reported:
Cesar Chavez, who organized the United Farm Workers union, staged a massive grape boycott in the late 1960s to dramatize the plight of America's poor farmhands, and later became a Gandhi-like leader to urban Mexican-Americans, was found dead Friday in San Luis, Ariz., police said. He was 66.
Authorities in San Luis, a small farming town on the Mexican border about 25 miles south of Chavez's native Yuma, said the legendary farm workers' leader apparently died in his sleep at the home of a family friend.
"He was our Gandhi," said Democratic state Sen. Art Torres, a prominent Chicano politician from Los Angeles' Eastside, upon hearing news of Chavez's death. "He was our Dr. Martin Luther King.
"It's hard to find people like him who epitomized the spiritual and political goals of a people."President Clinton said in Washington, "The labor movement and all Americans have lost a great leader with the death of Cesar Chavez. An inspiring fighter for the cause to which he dedicated his life, Cesar Chavez was an authentic hero to millions of people throughout the world."
Indeed, to many, America's quest for equality for its ethnic and racial minorities had largely been framed in terms of black and white. Mexican-Americans, and Latinos in general, were largely ignored by politicians except at election time.
That changed when Chavez, the son of migrant farm workers, became the head of the UFW in 1965…
Check out the full 1993 L.A. Times Cesar Chavez obituary.