Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 2:00PM
The Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tickets will be available for purchase online in the coming weeks.
From the Jaws of Victory:The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement is the most comprehensive history ever written on the meteoric rise and precipitous decline of the United Farm Workers, the most successful farm labor union in United States history. Based on little-known sources and one-of-a-kind oral histories with many veterans of the farm worker movement, this book revises much of what we know about the UFW. Matt Garcia’s gripping account of the expansion of the union’s grape boycott reveals how the boycott, which UFW leader Cesar Chavez initially resisted, became the defining feature of the movement and drove the growers to sign labor contracts in 1970. Garcia vividly relates how, as the union expanded and the boycott spread across the United States, Canada, and Europe, Chavez found it more difficult to organize workers and fend off rival unions. Ultimately, the union was a victim of its own success and Chavez’s growing instability.
From the Jaws of Victory delves deeply into Chavez’s attitudes and beliefs, and how they changed over time. Garcia also presents in-depth studies of other leaders in the UFW, including Gilbert Padilla, Marshall Ganz, Dolores Huerta, and Jerry Cohen. He introduces figures such as the co-coordinator of the boycott, Jerry Brown; the undisputed leader of the international boycott, Elaine Elinson; and Harry Kubo, the Japanese American farmer who led a successful campaign against the UFW in the mid-1970s.
Matthew Garcia is Professor of Transborder Studies and History at Arizona State University, where he also directs the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, and the Program in Comparative Border Studies. He has taught at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the University of Oregon, and Brown University. His book, A World of Its Own: Race, Labor and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2001) was named co-winner for the best book in oral history by the Oral History Association in 2003. His current book project, From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement, to be published by the University of California Press in 2012, explores the formation of the most successful consumer boycott in U.S. history and the grassroots activists and union leaders who created it. He was also the outreach director and co-primary investigator for the Bracero Archive Project, which was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in 2008, and the recipient of the Best Public History Award by the National Council for Public History in 2009-2010.
Presented by PEN Center USA and University of California Press, the GO WEST reading series is an ongoing examination of California’s and Los Angeles’ contemporary history and issues.