¡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 17)

Title: FBI Surveillance of César Chávez: File #100-444762, Section 5 (Part 17)
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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 memos, from December 1970 and January 1971, detail United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC) demonstrations at military facilities in protest of the Department of Defense's (DOD) continued purchase and use of lettuce picked by non-union workers.

In a memo dated December 23, 1970, a source informed the FBI that members of the UFWOC carried out a demonstration at the river entrance of the Pentagon. Another memo, dated January 13, 1971, reported that the UFWOC had scheduled a demonstration at Fort Lewis, a U.S. Army facility near Tacoma, Washington, on January 14. In the final memo, dated January 11, 1971, a source said that protesters affiliated with the UFWOC had picketed at the gates of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, and passed out leaflets concerning the lettuce boycott.
 

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