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United Farm Workers - UFW Collection

UFW Head

"I have often been asked what kind of a union I am trying to build and what type of society I want to see in the future. It seems to me that, once the union members are taken care of in terms of better wages and working conditions, the union must involve itself in the major issues of the times."
–Cesar Chavez

UFW image collage
Collection Origins    

The United Farm Workers (UFW) Collection was originally launched with the acquisition of a UFW clippings collection intended as a means of keeping separate and distant UFW field offices informed of news that was relevant to the organization. UFW staff member, Dolores Velasco, collected and copied the clippings and then faxed them to various UFW offices before filing them for future reference. Mrs. Velasco is the widow of Pete Velasco, who served in a number of positions in the UFW, such as the Stockton, California Field Office Director, as the director of the Strike Defense Fund, as a board member of the Farm Workers Credit Union, and a member of the National Executive Board as Third Vice-President.

In 2005, Prof. José Calderón accepted the donation of the clippings from Mrs. Velasco while working on a project dealing with the history of the UFW in La Paz, the UFW's Keene, California headquarters. Prof. Calderón and some of his students loaded the clippings into a van and brought them back to Cal Poly Pomona where they were stored in the Chavez Center.

The clippings were moved to the Library Special Collections in the fall of 2006 for processing, indexing and permanent storage. This website and maintenance of the collection are supported by a Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions grant awarded to the University Library in 2005.

Pete Velasco
© David Bacon
Collection Description    

The Collection contains thousands of clippings gathered from many different publications. Newspapers form the major source of the clippings and include publications such as the Bakersfield Californian, the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the collection gathers clippings from smaller local papers, such as the Register-Pajaronian from the Watsonville area, as well as from Spanish language publications. Other clipping sources include national magazines and journals, and various organization newsletters. There are also full news pages, most dealing with the death of Cesar Chavez.

The clippings collection spans the years 1987 — 2006, with the bulk of the clippings coming from the years 1999 — 2001.

The clippings collection has a wide-ranging focus, concerned with issues that impact the UFW directly and indirectly, in California and around the country. Farmworker issues such as pesticide use and low wages are documented in clippings from Florida, Oregon, Washington, as well as California. Other issues, such as immigration, bilingual education, affordable housing, and medical care, are of interest on a state and national level and reflect Cesar Chavez's belief that the UFW should concern itself with the "major issues of the times." Consult the subjects list and the finding aid for a fuller list of included topics and materials.

Clippings Collection Arrangement  

The bulk of the collection is arranged in chronological order; boxes for the most part contain a single year's worth of clippings divided into monthly folders. If the folder was too large, the folder was further arranged into first-half and second-half folders for the respective month.

Some of the clippings were kept in their original subject categorization, and those folders are marked as such. Other clippings whose dates were indiscernible are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the first word of the headline and filed in alphabetical folders.

Full news pages of special issues have been deacidified and are stored in flat oversize boxes.

Artifacts & Ephemera    
UFW flag

In addition to the publication clippings, there are numerous other items of interest such as UFW press releases, UFW "martyr" histories, flyers from various events, UFW fundraising materials, and other documents. Many posters, pins, ephemera and other artifacts have been acquired for the collection, in addition to issues of the farm workers' underground newspaper, El Malcriado.

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