Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

DOLORES HUERTA
(1930-)

Nerea A. LLamas

La causa, the cause, has been the focal point of Dolores Huerta's life for more than forty years. She has remained undeterred from her goal of obtaining better working conditions for farmworkers throughout the United States. As César Chavez once said of her, "Dolores is absolutely fearless, physically and emotionally" ( Coburn 1976, 12-13). From humble beginnings, Dolores Huerta has risen to be one of the most respected and admired women labor leaders of the twentieth century.

Dolores Huerta's story begins in the small mining town of Dawson, New Mexico, where she was born to Juan and Alicia Fernández on April 10, 1930. After her parents' divorce, Dolores moved with her mother and two brothers to Stockton, California. In Stockton, Dolores' upbringing was in many ways nontraditional. She enjoyed life in an unusually multicultural community. Alicia Fernández worked as a cannery worker and managed to save enough money to buy a business, first a restaurant and then a 70-room hotel, which housed poor farmworkers. Unlike traditional families, Dolores later recalled in Intercambios Femeniles that her mother never showed favoritism toward her brothers. "I never had to cook for my brothers or do their clothes like many traditional Mexican families" ( Carranza 1989, 12). She encouraged Dolores to join Girl Scouts and church groups and take violin, piano, and dance lessons.

Sheltered from prejudice in her early years, Dolores soon faced the realities of racism in high school. In a 1972 article originally in La Voz del Pueblo and later reprinted in An Awakened Minority: The Mexican Americans, she related one incident that illustrated her struggle: "When I was in high school I got straight A's in all of my compositions. But the teacher told me at the end of the year that she couldn't give me an A because she knew that somebody was writing my papers for me" ( Huerta 1974, 284-285).

After high school, Dolores married Ralph Head, had two daughters (Celeste and Lori), and divorced by the early 1950s. With her mother's help, she attended

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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