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Jon Lewis photographs of the United Farm Workers movement

 Collection
Call Number: WA Photos 466

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of approximately eleven thousand photographs created by Jon Lewis that document the activities of César Chávez, the National Farm Workers Association, and United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in California, 1966-1971, as well as related publications and audiovisual materials, 1967-2009. Most images document activities related to the California Grape Strike in 1966.

Images include migrant agricultural laborers during the picketing fields of table grape growers, including the Di Giorgio Fruit Corporation, in Delano, California, during the California Grape Strike. Other images related to the strikers depict the labor of farm workers, their housing, and the vineyards. A group of images depicts strikers picketing the arrival of Governor Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown, Sr. at the meeting of the California Democratic Council in Bakersfield, California, February 1966. A significant group of images documents a visit to strikers by Senator Robert F. Kennedy in March 1966, as well as a related local hearing for the Senate Subcommittee on Migratory Labor that he conducted with Senators Harrison A. Williams and George L. Murphy in Delano. Groups of images also document college student volunteers supporting the strike during the summer of 1966.

Many images document a peregrinación (pilgrimage) march during the California Grape Strike from Delano to Sacramento, March-April 1966, including informal portraits of César Chávez; views of marchers and flag bearers holding flags for the National Farm Workers Association; and images of a banner that depicts the Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. Related images to the peregrinación show volunteers and activities that provided material support for the march, including food caravans and temporary camps, as well as rallies held along the route of the march.

A substantial portion of images in the collection document performances of El Teatro Campesino, a theatrical troupe founded by Luis Valdez and Agustin Lira, which performed as a cultural arm of the National Farm Workers Association.

A small group of images depict César Chávez at an outdoor religious service during his Fast for Nonviolence at the Field Office of the United Farm Workers of America in Delano, also known as "Forty Acres," February-March 1968.

Few individuals involved with the strike are identified in the images. Individuals identified in the collection include César Chávez and his wife, Helen Chávez, as well as other members of the union leadership, including James L. Drake, Marshall Ganz, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong, Antonio Orendain, Gilbert Padilla, and Fred Ross.

Besides documenting the activities of the groups and individuals, the photographic material in the collection documents the evolution of images from negatives captured by Lewis to resultant prints and publications. The negatives and contact sheets show variant images captured by Lewis. The books and audiovisual materials document the ways in which Lewis and others used the images.

Dates

  • 1966 - 2009
  • Majority of material found within 1966 - 1968

Creator

Language of Materials

In English and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Jon Lewis Photographs of the United Farm Workers Movement is the physical property of The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, also retains any and all copyrights in the Jon Lewis Photographs of the United Farm Workers Movement collection and full authority to control commercial use of materials in it. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Gaylord Jon Lewis on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2009-2010.

Arrangement

Organized into two series: I. Photographs, 1966-1971. II. Books and Audiovisual Materials, 1967-2009.

Associated Materials

Jon Lewis, Photographs and Film of César Chávez and Agricultural Labor Activities in California (WA Photos 81). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Extent

17.65 Linear Feet (53 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.lewisjon

Overview

This collection consists of approximately eleven thousand photographs created by Jon Lewis that document the activities of Ce?sar Cha?vez, the National Farm Workers Association, and United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in California, 1966-1971, as well as related publications and audiovisual materials, including videotapes and videodiscs, 1967-2009. Most images document activities related to the California Grape Strike in 1966.

Jon Lewis (1938-2009)

Gaylord Jon Lewis (1938-2009) was a photographer and printer in San Francisco, California. After service in the United States Marine Corps, Lewis earned a baccalaureate degree from San Jose State University. In 1966, Lewis joined the farm worker movement and documented the work and activities of César Chávez and the California Grape Strike. He later earned a graduate degree in photography at San Francisco State University.

United Farm Workers of America and the California Grape Strike

The United Farm Workers of America (UFWA) is a labor union created from the merging of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) led by Larry Itliong (1913-1977), Philip Vera Cruz (1904-1994), and others, with the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) led by César Chávez (1927-1993) and Dolores Huerta (born 1930).

On September 8, 1965, the AWOC and its primarily Filipino membership started a strike against grape growers in Delano, California. During the strike they demanded salaries equal to the federal minimum wage. The predominantly Mexican-American NFWA joined the strike soon after it began. During the California Grape Strike and related boycott of table grapes, the AWOC and NFWA recognized their common goals and methods. On August 22, 1966, the groups combined to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee and became a member of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. The union eventually became the United Farm Workers of America. By 1970, the UFWA reached a collective bargaining agreement with the table-grape growers.
Title
Guide to the Jon Lewis Photographs of the United Farm Workers Movement
Author
by Matthew Daniel Mason
Date
February 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.