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The Story of Dolores Huerta

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on 11 December 2015

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Transcript of The Story of Dolores Huerta

The Story of Dolores Huerta
The beginning
Dolores Huerta was an activist, mother, and politician. She spent her life tirelessly fighting for the rights of Latinos, immigrants, workers, and women.

Huerta was born in New Mexico. Her mother ran a hotel and restaurant that gave lodging to Latino workers. This gave Huerta the foundation for her work in the future. She moved to California and began her career as an elementary school teacher but quickly after found her passion for helping workers.

Becoming an activist
After her few years as a teacher, Huerta became the cofounder of an organization called the Community Service Organization, which championed the rights of farm workers and fought against segregation. Dolores saw oppression against immigrants and farm workers and how it affected her community and her students and decided to quit teaching in order to make a larger impact on the community by helping farm workers.

5 short years later, in 1960, Huerta founded the Agricultural Workers Assocation. At the time, Mexican immigrant farm workers in California were being denied a lot of rights. Through this organization, she fought for things like letting immigrant workers vote and take driver's tests in Spanish. This was important, because before immigrant workers were not allowed to vote, and were forced to take things like driver's tests in English, a language they didn't understand, making it harder for them to get licenses and other important documents.
Primary source 2
United farmworkers
While doing work with the CSO, Huerta met a man named César Chávez and together they submitted ideas to the CSO to help farm workers. Unfortunately, their requests were turned down, and frustrated, Huerta and Chávez resigned from the CSO. The pair wanted to champion the rights of immigrants and farm workers and could not help people with the CSO unwilling to take on their ideas.

After resigning, Huerta and Chávez continued their journey to helping farm workers and founded an organization that came to be known at the United Farm Workers of America. Through this organization, Huerta was able to lead a nation wide strike against buying California grapes, and other goods traditionally farmed by immigrant workers.
Primary source 3
Dolores Huerta in the office of the Community Service Organization (CSO)
What kind of environment do you think Dolores Huerta is in?
What do you notice about the gender and ages of the people in the photo?
What kind of mood does Dolores Huerta look like she is in? Why do you think this is?

Dolores Huerta holding up a sign that reads "Huelga", or "strike" in Spanish
The word Huelga means “strike”. Why do you think Dolores Huerta is holding up a sign that says this?
Why do you think the sign is in Spanish? What does this say about the intended audience?
What expression do you read on Dolores Huerta’s face? Why do you think she is feeling this way?
Do you think this was a staged photo? Why or why not?

In addition to her legislation and political work/boycotts for farmworkers, Huerta participated in a lot of protests in support of her work.

In 1988, Huerta participated in a peaceful protest against the policies of a presidential candidate at the time, George H. W. Bush. During the protest, she was beaten and received a lot of injuries. This only fueled her desire to work for the rights of farm workers.
Dolores Huerta and César Chávez in the hospital after receiving injuries from the protest against George H. W. Bush.
Huerta is in the hospital in this photo. What does this say about the challenges she faced as an activist?
What are the emotions you notice from the people in the photo?
How many people do you notice in the photo? What does this say to you about their roles in the movement?

Continuing the fight
After recovering, Huerta continued her fight for the rights of oppressed groups. She spent many years fighting for women's rights through an organization called Feminization of Power. In addition to fighting for women's rights, and worker's rights, Huerta began her own organization in 2002, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, that promotes community involvement and leadership.

Huerta's tireless work did not go unnoticed. Throughout her life she received many awards for her activism, including Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from former President Bill Clinton and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
primary source 6
Huerta receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012.
Who is in this photo and what does this tell you about hte significance of this award?
What do you notice about the emotions the people in the picture are portraying?
How do you think Dolores Huerta felt after this photograph was taken?
Huerta as a mother and wife
Huerta was not only a political activist and labor leader, she was a mother and a wife. Huerta was married to two men, Ralph Head and later Ventura Huerta during her career. She mothered 7 children during her marriages and later had 11 grandchildren. In addition to her close friendship with César Chávez, she was involved in a romantic relationship with his brother, Richard Chávez, although they never married.
Thank you for reading!
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Primary Source 6

Primary Sources 1 & 9

Primary Source 8

Primary Source 7
primary source 4
Dolores Huerta at a march in Chicago, Illinois, 1971.
What do you think the people in the photo are doing?
What mood/emotion does Dolores Huerta seem to be in?
What do you notice about the numbers of people and the environment that they are in?

primary source 8
“Walk the street with us into history. Get off the side walk.”

-Dolores Huerta
What do you think Dolores Huerta was trying to say in this quote?
Why do you think Dolores Huerta used these particular words?
What do you notice about the literary device in this quote? (Pronoun use, similes, metaphors, etc.)

primary source 1
“I realized one day that as a teacher I couldn’t do anything for kids who came to school barefoot and hungry.”

-Dolores Huerta
What does this quote say about Huerta's decision to quit teaching?
How does this quote show Huerta felt about her students?
What emotions do you think Huerta felt when she said this quote?
primary source 9
“Like most working women, you have guilt complexes, you do it without thinking about it, because if you think about it, you can’t do it.”

-Dolores Huerta
(on leaving her children often to participate in activism)
How do you think Huerta felt about leaving her children regularly?
What kind of feelings was Huerta trying to communicate in this quote?
What do you think she meant by "guilt complex"?
primary source 7
Dolores Huerta marching for fair wages for workers in Wisconsin, 2015.
Did this photo take place recently? What does this say about Huerta's activism?
Why do you think Huerta is fighting in this strike?
What kind of people do you notice in the photo?
Table of Contents
The Beginning
Becoming an Activist
Primary Source 1
Primary Source 2
United Farm Workers
Primary Source 3
Primary Source 4
Primary Source 5
Continuing the Fight
Primary Source 6
Primary Source 7
Primary Source 8
Huerta as a Mother and Wife
Primary Source 9
Full transcript