Chavez and the Farm Workers

Chavez and the Farm Workers

Chavez and the Farm Workers

Chavez and the Farm Workers

Excerpt

On Tuesday, January 15, 1974, Pablo Navarro Arellanos got up sometime after midnight, as was his custom, and drove the old school bus through the dark streets into downtown Calexico.Even at 2:30 A.M. the streets were peopled with the hurrying shadows of farm workers crossing the U.S.—Mexican border from the sprawling, dusty, metropolitan Mexicali into this small California town.They walked quickly, in twos and threes, each carrying a lunch, a soda, and a water bottle in a plastic shopping bag; hundreds of men, women, and children headed for a dozen or more informal labor shapeups that transpire daily in the pre-dawn.

Pablo Arellanos, no longer a young man, considered himself lucky.Instead of having to hustle into the shapeup and then bend his back all day in the hot fields of the Imperial Valley, he worked as a bus driver and crew pusher for labor contractor Jesús Ayala.Although the bus wasn't in the best shape — the wiring was bad, the motor smells came up through the holes in the floor by his feet, and the emergency brake didn't work well — it was a good job. He worked long hours driving and working the crew, driving home, and then, cleaning and servicing the bus after the day was over; but the job paid more than field labor. It was a job that could lead to better opportunities. But Pablo Arellanos had no future; by dawn he would be dead.

Arellanos turned the bus north at the corner of Second and Imperial, drove a half block on Imperial, and pulled into the red zone, next to Hotel El Rey.Already a few people were . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.