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 this series of memos from October and November 1969, the FBI's field office in Atlanta reports on a October 25 protest held outside of the main gates of Fort McPherson, a U.S. Army facility located in East Point, Georgia. The demonstrators were protesting against the Department of Defense's increased purchase and use of California table grapes—up to 11 million pounds per year by 1969—which was under boycott by the United Farm Workers (UFW).
The first memo, dated October 23, gives basic details about the Fort McPherson protests; it mentions an article in The Great Speckled Bird, an Atlanta-based underground newspaper, which reported on the October 25 demonstration. A subsequent FBI memo relays additional details, including that five of the approximately 25 demonstrators were associated with Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
A letterhead memorandum dated November 5 adds that demonstrators passed out leaflets to motorists entering and leaving the military facility and circulated a petition which stated, "We the undersigned Members of the United States Armed Forces, Pledge Not to Eat Table Grapes until the Grape Strike and Boycott are over." Additionally, demonstrators held up a number of signs with such messages as, "Department of Defense Buys Scab Grapes," "Equality and Justice for Farmworkers," "The DOD is a Strikebreaker," and "Boycott Grapes — Buy Georgia Peaches."