¡Sí Se Puede! Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight on César Chávez & the UFW
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EXAMINE

From 1965 to the early 1980s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveilled the farmworker movement associated with César Chávez. Despite compiling a file of 1,434 pages on Chávez, the FBI did not find substantial evidence of any direct affiliation with communism on the part of Chávez or the United Farm Workers (UFW).

After reading the Feature Story, Need to Know, and Reference items, as well as the FBI Surveillance of César Chávez documents to the right, consider the following questions:

  1. Examine one of the FBI surveillance files at right. What allegations are made against Chávez and/or the UFW? How is the relationship between communism and the UFW and/or Chávez made by federal authorities? What type of language is used to establish this alleged relationship?
  2. From the selected FBI surveillance files, examine one document and take note of the redacted sections. Do the non-redacted phrases give clues as to why such information has been excised? What types of phrases, words, and/or passages appear to be redacted? Why might this be the case? Cite specific examples.
  3. How are these documents helpful in examining the motives of the FBI? How are Chávez and the UFW portrayed? What do these types of documents say about the federal authorities of this time period?
  4. Why is it important for the public to have access to FBI surveillance documents?
  5. Should federal authorities be allowed to launch investigations of this sort? Why or why not?
Having analyzed some FBI surveillance files, take a look at some other primary documents associated with the farmworker movement related at right—consisting of posters, strike reports, and a video—and answer the following questions:

  1. Review the two farmworker movement collection posters. What type of imagery and themes are used in these documents? How would this type of media be helpful in spreading the message of the UFW to the general public? Provide specific examples.
  2. Read one of the two strike reports in the farmworker movement collection. What types of issues are discussed in these reports? How do the strike reports present the experiences of the UFW strikers? How are growers characterized? Cite specific examples.
  3. Examine the Sí Se Puede video clip from the farmworker movement collection. What is discussed in this particular video? How is the UFW characterized? How is this video an effective tool for promoting the cause of the farmworker movement?
  4. How are these primary documents valuable in understanding the UFW?
  5. How do these farmworker movement documents contrast with the FBI surveillance files? Is there any evidence of communist affiliation present in these documents?

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