¡Sí Se Puede! Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight on César Chávez & the UFW
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FBI Surveillance of César Chávez: File #100-444762, Section 5 (Part 2)

Title: FBI Surveillance of César Chávez: File #100-444762, Section 5 (Part 2)
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The primary source document described below, which can be viewed by clicking the thumbnail at right, is part of a 1,434-page file on César Chávez and the farmworker movement compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) between 1965 and 1973. The FBI's surveillance of Chávez, which paralleled larger efforts to prove that protest groups of the civil rights era had been infiltrated by subversive influences, was unable to uncover any evidence of communism or corruption in the activities of Chávez and his followers.

The FBI's dossier on Chávez was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which contains provisions that allowed the FBI to withhold portions of the documents from public view. Indeed, many parts—and in some cases, entire pages—have been excised from the files. Nevertheless, the collection provides a compelling window into the efforts of the farmworker movement, as well as the values and methods of the FBI itself.

In November 1968, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) field office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sent a series of transmissions to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., describing marches and demonstrations staged throughout the city by the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC). Part of the campaign's grassroots efforts to bring increased public attention to the farm workers' cause, the goal of the Pittsburgh protests was to garner additional support for the Delano grape strike by encouraging more Americans to boycott table grapes and to secure union recognition for grape pickers.

These pages include a teletype dated November 23, 1968, regarding a march from Pittsburgh's Hill District to Point Park in downtown, which consisted of about 128 people. Participants heard speeches in support of UFWOC efforts for farm workers and received envelopes with the instructions to mash grapes and send them to President-elect Richard Nixon.

A subsequent document dated November 26 noted that UFWOC representative Albert Rojas had previously secured a permit for the demonstration and led the march to Point Park. According to the report, the demonstrators marched around the Hendel Fruit Market three times because that store continued to sell California grapes. The report also detailed the speeches that were given, which included remarks from Rojas; Albert Fondy of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers; Charles Harris and James McCoy of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Tom Boynton of the University of Pittsburgh's Black Action Society; and Carnegie Mellon University student Steve Lawrence of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

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