National Farm Workers Association

National Farm Workers Association

National Farm Workers Association

September 30, 1962
“Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)” by Woody Guthrie

César Chávez & Dolores Huerta

César Chávez was born on March 21, 1927 in Yuma, Arizona. Dolores Huerta was born in Dawson, New Mexico on April 10, 1930. 

In 1939 the Chávez family left Yuma for California to find work as migrant farm workers. In 1942 César Chávez had to leave school in order to help support his family.

In August 1942, with a labor shortage caused by an expanding number of American men joining the military, the US and Mexican governments began the Bracero Program (“strong arm” in Spanish). The US permitted Mexican workers into the US as temporary contract laborers. 

César Chávez was in the Navy for two years. At the time Mexican-Americans could only work as deckhands or painters.

Community Service Organization

In 1947 Fred Ross, Antonio Rios, and Edward Roybal had founded the Community Service Organization, a Latino civil rights group. In 1952, César Chávez joined the CSO. 

Dolores Huerta learned about activism and generosity from her mother Alicia Chávez Huerta. Alicia was active in her community of Stockton, California Alicia and often provided free housing for migrant workers in her hotel. 

In 1955 Dolores Huerta co-founded the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization. It was through the CSO that she met César Chávez, now the CSO Executive Director.

Common cause

Huerta and Chávez found that they shared a common vision of organizing farm workers. Unfortunately, that was not part of the CSO's vision.

As a result, in the spring of 1962 César and Dolores resigned from the CSO and began the National Farm Workers Association. Chavez moved with his wife and eight small children to the farm town of Delano, CA and dedicated himself full-time to organizing farm workers. Dolores Huerta and others later joined him. 

National Farm Workers Association

On September 30, 1962 Huerta and Chávez convened the first convention of the National Farm Workers Association. They assembled in an abandoned movie theater in Fresno, CA. At it the group unveiled for the first time their flag: the distinctive bright red flag with a black eagle on white.

Peregrinácion

It was both literally and figuratively a long road that the NFWA faced to have employers meet their demands for fair wages and safe working conditions. To bring attention to the plight of farm workers, on March 17, 1966 Chávez began a 340-mile Peregrinácion (pilgrimage) from Delano to Sacramento.      

It ended on April 10. Along the way, thousands of supporters joined Chávez and Huerta.

The march drew national attention to the suffering of farm workers. At the rally Huerta stated, “We are no longer interested in listening to the excuses the Governor has to give in defense of the growers, to his apologies to them for not paying us decent wages or why the growers cannot dignify the workers as individuals with the right to place the price on their own labor through collective bargaining. The Governor maintains that the growers are in a competitive situation. Well, the farm workers are also. We must also compete—with the standards of living to give our families their bread.”       

During the march and after a four-month boycott, Schenley Vineyards negotiated an agreement with NFWA--the first genuine union contract between a grower and farm workers' union in US history.

Lifetimes


National Farm Workers Association
Chávez dedicated his life to the goal of better working conditions. He died at the age of 66 on April 23, 1993

National Farm Worker Association

Huerta continues to work for those same goals and others have recognized her efforts such as on May 29, 2012 when President Barak Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to her. 

The NY Times Ken Jaworowski wrote a review of Peter Bratt's 2017 documentary, "Dolores." Jaworowski's lead paragraph was: "You can judge Dolores Huerta by what others say about her. Just choose a side: Bobby Kennedy, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have sung her praises, while Richard Nixon, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly have disparaged her ideas. Better yet, judge her by her accomplishments, which are outlined in “Dolores,” a documentary that extols her lifelong, and seemingly unlimited, fighting spirit in the service of workers’ rights."

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

September 29, 1967

George Harrison Sitar

The path that led the Beatles to transcendental meditation was mainly through George Harrison's use of the sitar, the Indian instrument he used on Rubber Soul's "Norwegian Wood." Harrison used the sitar simply because he liked its sound, but he wanted to learn more. 

Harrison first met master sitarist Ravi Shankar in June 1966 in the UK and Shankar gave a couple of lessons to Harrison. 

On September 14, 1966, a Mr and Mrs Sam Wells, aka George and Pattie Harrison, flew to Mumbai.  The main reason was to take sitar lessons from Shankar. Because the sitting position was so difficult for Harrison, Shankar had a yoga instructor help him.

The following year Pattie attended a lecture on Transcendental Meditation at Caxton Hall, London, where she received her mantra. 

see Beatles meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for more

Encouraged by Pattie Harrison's interest and enthusiasm, on August 24, 1967  the Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at a lecture in London. All except Ringo and his wife Maureen (she had just given birth to to their son) attended. While there, they found out that he was giving a series of classes. They all decided to attend.

Of course if the Beatles found something interesting, fans followed suit. Ravi Shankar became part of the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and famously played in the rain at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost

On September 29, 1967 John Lennon and George Harrison were guests on David Frost's The Frost Programme. 

Among the comments were:

Lennon: "Buddha was a groove, Jesus was all right."

Harrison: "I believe in reincarnation. Life and death are still only relative to thought. I believe in rebirth. You keep coming back until you have got it straight. The ultimate thing is to manifest divinity, and become one with The Creator."

Because viewers found that  program so interesting, John and George returned for another interview a week later. 

Again, the subject of the 45-minute show was Transcendental Meditation. Lennon and Harrison answered questions that Frost and studio guests asked as well as from letters sent in. There was also a pro- and con- discussion about meditation. 

No Mas Maharishi

The interest continued and on February 16, 1968 John and Cynthia Lennon, and George and Pattie Harrison flew to India for further study with the Maharishi. Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Ringo and Maureen Starr followed on the 20th. The plan was to stay at least six weeks.

Ringo found the food there too difficult and he and Maureen returned to England less than two weeks after their arrival. Paul and Jane returned on March 20.

The stay for the others came to an abrupt end when one of the members of the Beatle party told John and George that the Maharishi was sexually inappropriate with one of the female guests.

John and George confronted the Yogi, but he didn't take the accusation seriously which convinced John, George, and the others that he was guilty.

John left, but George, rather than return straightaway to England, went to visit Ravi Shankar and didn't return until April 28.

The accusations were likely untrue.

John Lennon George Harrison David Frost, John Lennon George Harrison David Frost, John Lennon George Harrison David Frost, John Lennon George Harrison David Frost, John Lennon George Harrison David Frost, 

Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits

Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits

Billboard #1 album
September 28 – October 4, 1968

Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits

What is your favorite Rascals song? Do you still call them the Young Rascals? Do you think of someplace in particular when you hear some of their songs?
I Ain’t Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore
I don't think I knew that the Rascals were a Jersey band, but I heard about that along the way. I didn't know what blue-eyed soul meant.  I do know I immediately liked their music. Rock and Roll.

The Rascals were: Felix Cavaliere (vocals, Hammond B3/keyboards), Eddie Brigati (vocals and percussion), Gene Cornish (guitar and vocals), and  Dino Danelli (drummer).

Eddie's brother David Brigati was an original member of Joey Dee & The Starliters. The Starliters were another Jersey band (out of Lodi, NJ) who are most famous for their hit "Peppermint Twist."

The Young Rascals began in Brigati and Danelli's hometown of Garfield, NJ.

I knew neither the Starlighter nor Garfield connections. I did know I loved "I Ain't Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore."

Hit single after hit single

I also knew that I loved each single that followed. These were compact hits. All under 3 minutes as was the typical timing, but like all great pop hits, they packed it all in.
Good Lovin’ February 1966
You Better Run May 1966
Come On Up September 1966
I’ve Been Lonely Too Long January 1967
A Girl Like You July 1967
How Can I Be Sure August 1967
It’s Wonderful November 1967
A Beautiful Morning April 1968

Especially, A Beautiful Morning

I had fallen in love again in 1966 and this time it lasted. It became a life-long romance that is still strong. Of course we went to our Senior Prom in 1968 and stayed up all night. We had a very early eyes-closing breakfast at a classmate's house.

The sun rose. I started my sister's VW bug to finally head home after reluctantly ending our longest date ever. Of course I turned on the radio--AM only. And as I passed Cliffside Park High School and turned the corner off of Riverview Avenue onto Palisade Avenue what song came on?  A Beautiful Morning of course.

Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits

Although I'd been purchasing albums for a few years already, I still counted my newspaper route's pennies before I invested in another record whether it was a single or an album.

When I saw the Rascals had released a greatest hits album, it went on the list and after collecting the week's payment from my route's customers, I headed to the record section of my town's Woolworth Store and purchased it.

It was a beautiful evening and the album still holds up well today.

Here is a video of the band. I was very impressed with Dino Danelli drumstick twirling and thought their clothes were pretty cool. I wonder what they thought. I wonder what their agent was thinking?

 

Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits, Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits, Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits, Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits, Time Peace Rascals Greatest Hits, 

Side One

  1. “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” (Pam Sawyer, Laurie Burton) – The Rascals’ first single (1965); also included on the 1966 album The Young Rascals
  2. “Good Lovin'” (Rudy Clark, Arthur Resnick) 
    • The Rascals’ second single (1966), and first #1 hit; also included on The Young Rascals
  3. “You Better Run” (Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati)
    • The A-side of the Rascals’ third single (1966); later included on the 1967 album Groovin’
  4. “Come On Up” (Cavaliere) 
    • The Rascals’ fourth single (1966), also included on the 1967 album Collections
  5. “Mustang Sally” (Bonny RiceUncut version from The Young Rascals
  6. “Love is a Beautiful Thing” (Cavaliere, Brigati) 
    • Originally released as the B-side of “You Better Run”; later included on Collections
  7. “In the Midnight Hour” (Wilson Pickett, Steve Cropper)
    • From The Young Rascals

Side Two

  1. “(I’ve Been) Lonely Too Long” (Cavaliere) 
    • Uncut version from Collections
  2. “Groovin'” (Cavaliere, Brigati) 
    • The Rascals’ second #1 single (1967); also included on Groovin’
  3. “A Girl Like You” (Cavaliere, Brigati) 
    • The follow-up Top 10 single to “Groovin'” (1967); also included on Groovin’
  4. “How Can I Be Sure” (Cavaliere, Brigati) 
    • The Rascals’ third Top 10 single of 1967; also included on Groovin’
  5. “It’s Wonderful” (Cavaliere, Brigati) 
    • LP version (without the “Mardi Gras” special effects coda) from the 1968 album Once Upon a Dream
  6. “Easy Rollin'” (Cavaliere, Brigati)
    • From Once Upon a Dream
  7. “A Beautiful Morning” (Cavaliere, Brigati) 
    • Non-LP single from 1968

The (Young) Rascals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.