Cesar Chavez During the March to Sacramento, 1966
In March, 1966, the United Farm Workers Association under the leadership of Cesar Chavez, organized a 300 mile long march from Delano to Sacramento, California, to create support for the farm workers struggle to unionize grape growers in California. It began on March 17, 1966 and reached Sacramento on April 10, 1966, Easter Sunday. The march started with 100 people. By the time it reached the state Capitol, there were 1500 people. Many thousands filled the plaza in front of the state Capitol to welcome the marchers and join the protest. Each night supporters in towns along the route arranged lodgings and food. Often there were rallies and speeches. The photo Cesar Chavez in this blog post was taken during one of the nightly stops during the march.
Harvey Richards filmed the march to Sacramento from the beginning to the end, and made it the central thread of the story he told in his film The Land Is Rich. It was the last film about the farm workers that he made. He made four films on California farm workers: Factory Farms, The Harvesters, Uno Veintecinco, and The Land Is Rich. He also shot still photos during all of these projects that are available in the image galleries on this web site. Photos of the march are in the Farm Workers on Strike, 1959-1966 gallery. Throughout his photographic work about farm workers in California, his focus was on the workers and their militant struggle against powerful wealthy corporations and their political allies who ruled the industry and the state.
The release of the new film Cesar Chavez is bringing public awareness and support to the historic fight to organize farm workers which continues to this day. The film contains images and film from the Harvey Richards Media Archive. It would have made Harvey proud to see it and to have contributed something to its success.