Cesar Chavez’s birthday is March 31, and we are nominally studying California right now (our studies took a slight detour for a while), so when iHomeschool Network asked for volunteers for the March birthdays, I took Cesar Chavez.
I have mixed feelings on the man. ON the one hand he did an amazing thing. Cesar Chavez organized the farm workers who were being paid terrible wages and were being taken advantage of. That is something to be truly admired.
On the other hand, they renamed a street downtown after him. It’s one of the numbered streets, and now I get lost in downtown Austin. If you’re going to rename a street at least don’t have it be one I use to keep from getting lost. Okay, if I’m honest I got lost beforehand, but I’m still going to blame Cesar Chavez, because I need a scapegoat.
All right, on to the unit, since I’m writing this before my kids have finished the unit, no cute pictures of them trying these things. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
Included in this Cesar Chavez mini-unit: a short passage covering what he did for your student to read (approximately 2nd grade reading level) and find parts of speech, another short passage using a map and covering listening comprehension skills, a study of a painting, and a hands on study of what is is like to be a farm worker.
Suggested books to go with this: A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez , Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, Side by Side/Lado a Lado
Check out the other Famous March Birthdays! There’s some great stuff there, including a fun Star Trek reference…….. That makes me happy.
picture credit for Cesar Chavez picture
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I love your history posts – I learn something every time; either something I didn’t know or a way to teach my children someday! Thanks 🙂
maryanne @ mama smiles says
Your unit is excellent. Thank you for sharing it! Pinning!
marie b says
Chávez, adding revolutionary racism to labor agitation, quickly attracted Communist support from all over California, and began to make headlines. Such well known Communists as Sam Kushner, Carl Westman, Alan Zak, Bettina Aptheker, Saul and Billie Wachter, Hal Verb, Tom Sanders, and Harvey Richards were soon on the scene supporting him. Among Cesar’s top aides was Luis Valdez of the Communist Progressive Labor Party, who had trained for revolutionary activity in Communist Cuba. His personal speech writer was Wendy Goepel, a delegate to the Communists’ Eighth World Youth Festival in Helsinki. His secretary was Donna Sue Haber, a founder of the Communist W.E.B. DuBois Clubs.
So, I thought long and hard about how to respond to this comment, and about approving it. I talked it over with my husband and he pointed out you are right he did have many questionable things.
Honestly, I disagree with Chavez on most issues. At the begining of his career, he did some great things (getting a fair wage for migrant workers, abolishing use of the short hoe, breaks scheduled into the day), which is what I chose to highlight. But, like many leaders once he had gotten the big achievement he was aiming for, he continued on and it became more political and more extreme.
I chose to post about him out of all the different people with birthdays in March, and there were many I wanted to do more, because I knew it would be a challenge. I think he is celebrated because of his skin color in many parts, not because of what he did. I think his political views became very communistic, and he did things that were not right and he became a cautionary tale to my mind.
I also think he did something that was VERY needed, someone did need to bring attention to the migrant farm workers who were being abused. I think it is probably still an issue we need to be aware of because many of the workers are illegal aliens who do not have the ability to speak up. I also know that as long as people are willing to come over and work in such conditions, it can’t be solved. Nor can it be solved given our current political climate. All of this is too much of a hot button and most people are not willing to talk but, want to call names or attack the other position without listening.
But, these are issues I will bring up to my kids later, when their thinking is not so black and white. Right now my kids see things in “good guy/bad guy,” so I’ve simplified it to something they can understand.