¡Sí Se Puede! Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight on César Chávez & the UFW
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FBI Surveillance of César Chávez: Cross References File (Part 7)

Title: FBI Surveillance of César Chávez: Cross References File (Part 7)
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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.

This series of documents cover a variety of activities and events related to the United Farm Workers (UFW) in California between 1970 and 1975, including efforts to organize tomato pickers in Stanislaus and the bombing of UFW facilities in Hollister and Delano.

On August 26, 1974, the FBI's Sacramento office reported on a UFW-sponsored rally held the previous day to garner support for the organization of tomato pickers in Stanislaus County. A follow-up memo dated October 24, 1974, stated that there had been no major incidents of civil unrest related to the matter.

A memo dated March 1, 1975, reported on a UFW march and rally in Modesto to protest the lack of secret balloting for farm laborers. The marchers arrived in Modesto in two groups that originated in Fresno and San Francisco; a demonstration was held in relation to a boycott of E&J Gallo Winery.

On November 4, 1970, the FBI's San Francisco office reported that a UFW office located in Hollister was attacked with explosives, which caused damage to the building's front door and windows. Similarly, in a memo dated January 19, 1973, a UFW co-op gas station was bombed in Delano. Neither incident resulted in any injuries.

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