César Chávez (1927–1993) was an American labor organizer who cofounded the National Farm Workers Association. Born to Mexican American migrant laborer parents, Chávez’s youth was spent working harvests with his family through California and Arizona. He served in the US Navy for two years during World War II before returning to migrant work. Chávez first became involved with labor activism as an organizer for Saul Alinsky’s Community Services Organization (CSO) in the 1950s. By 1958, he was the director of the CSO. He resigned four years later to establish the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta and others. In 1965, Chávez emerged as a leader of the California grape strike and boycott initiated by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and Larry Itliong. The strike ultimately lasted five years and led to the 1966 merger of the NFWA with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC), later the United Farm Workers of America. Chávez continued his labor organizing and activism throughout the 1970s and 1980s, working to improve conditions for American agricultural workers.

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