¡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 6 (Part 3)

Title: FBI Surveillance of César Chávez: File #100-444762, Section 6 (Part 3)
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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.

The documents in this series, from July 1971 and February 1972, cover United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) demonstrations against Hueblein Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut, and Pogue's department store in Cincinnati.

On July 7, 1971, the FBI's field office in New Haven reported that George Nee, coordinator of UFWOC activity in Connecticut, had announced plans for a protest of a stockholder's meeting of Hueblein, a winemaker that purchased large volumes of non-union grapes. According to a source, Nee said that the Hueblein demonstration was meant to act as the spark for a nationwide effort to encourage negotiations between the farm workers union and the winemaker. The UFWOC also claimed that Hueblein was the largest winemaker outside of California to purchase grapes from non-union vineyards. A subsequent memo dated July 8 reported that the demonstration was peaceful and consisted of 45 people.

In a memo dated February 22, 1972, the FBI's Cincinnati field office relayed information from a source who observed a UFWOC protest of Pogue's department store in downtown Cincinnati on February 18. For approximately 2 hours, a group of 45 people gathered around the department store holding up signs protesting against the sale of wine from non-union vineyards.

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