UFW 50th Anniversary in San Antonio (Photos by Alan Pogue)

UFW 50th Anniversary in San Antonio (Photos by Alan Pogue)

“Marcha de los Campesinos” by Nephtalí De León

Marcha de los Campesinos

Río Grande City,Texas,  1966

 

© by Nephtalí  De León

 

miren mi pueblo querido

lo que les voy a contar

comenzó en Río Grande City

en el condado de Starr

 

hace 40 y 10 años

sucedió algo muy extraño

cuando la gente del campo

dijo al Gringo —

ya no nos jodas tú tanto

 

pagaban en el melón

40 cobres por hora

a misery 40 cents

donde la vida del pobre

and their energy was spent

 

ahí no había coffee break

ni tampoco where to poop

si querías el escudao

nomás se veían las matas

que las hacíamos pa’ un lado

 

esto tiene que cambiar

decía Domingo Arredono

simón dijo el Balde Díaz

a los miembros del committee

no somos la piris wiris

 

con gente neta del pueblo

Rodrigo y Pedro García

se arrimó la Daría Vera

con la Kathy y Magdaleno

Librado y Alex Moreno

firmaron con sangre limpia

que viva La Raza mía !

 

aquí no nos hacen caso

vamos a píe al capitolio

a ver al gobernador

saquen sus chanclas más gruesas

las de cuero son mejor

 

arrestaron a unos cuantos

pero nadie se awitó

algunos aquí presentes

recuerdan mejor que yo

como el Efraín Carrera

que no andaba a las carreras…

yo también tuve en l’hotel

de la carcel de Río Grande

por andar de Nicky Snick

en el highway 83

keep it between you and me

 

en forma de Texas Rangers

les cayó chota gabacha

decía la Raza valiente

no importa que traigan bacha

tan babosos como el jelly

y se  llaman Captain Allee

 

1/3 of the people arrested

eran mujeres valientes

que no se olvide esta historia

nuestras mujeres en gloria

marcadas en la memoria

 

dicho y hecho se nos van

desde Río Grande visitan

a la Virgen de San Juan

Medeiros el Portugues

gives them a great big mass

 

cuando llegan a Edcouch Elsa

les hacen un Barbeque

ya pasaron Weslaco

y les sigue Raymondville

y van a pasar por Linn

 

los periódicos los siguen

tanto humano en el  camino

en la lluvia y en el sol

el Bene Treviño traiba

a sus dos hijas valientes

Graciela era la mas grande

13 años llevaba Herminia

Lupita Guzmán mas leve

apenas con 29

 

se les acaban las chanclas

y Falfurrias les regala

18 par de zapatos

y en kinisville, La Quineña

se dejan caer la greña

con los vaqueros de Tejas

 

Carlos Guerra reportero

escribe cosas bonitas

y en Robe, en el Robestown

los que piscan algodón

they throw their cotton sack down

y acompañan a la gente

del mero Río Grande town

 

sigue Corpitos, Normanna, Kennedy,

Beeville y Karnes city, with a big time

Raza rally — in downtown Floresville

where the governor is from

but he did’nt dare to come

 

the missions of San Antonio

give them such a juicy welcome

bajo el Arzobispo Lucy

but it’s raining cats and dogs

on Aug 27 que la falda de Daría

ran its beautiful bright green

her legs become neon green

craziest scene you´ve ever seen !

 

they give him tools of their trade

a canteloupe and some cotton

3,000 gather to march

from historic Milam Park

to the famous Alamó ,

this was 50 years ago,   

where Methodist Joel Martinez

before an astounded nation

gives the holy invocation

 

they finally reach New Braunfels

where they´re met by tres amigos

who act like their enemigos

Attorney General Wagonner Carr

Speaker of the House Ben Barnes

y el mero Gobernador John Connally !

los tres pa’ decir que no!

 

Dijo Fernando Piñón

all those cheers turned into jeers

undaunted they kept their march

past New Braunfels, past San Marcos

y en la Uni de San Eduardo

en la mera capital

15 thousand people waited

to welcome the campesinos !

 

Cesar Chavez was presente

con toda la linda gente

también estaba Ann Richards

Ralph Yarborough senador

y la  gente de calibre

luchando pa un pueblo libre

 

with 15,000 behind them

together the last 4 miles

they find the capital of Texas

for the first time in it´s life

with giant chains and a padlock

pos que creía el mandatario

que de Río Grande salieron

super hembra y superman

no los dejaron entrar

ni tampoco pos cambiar

40 centavos l´hora

por un salario cabal

 

aquí se acaba la historia

de valientes campesinos

humilde y tan pobre gente

pos cambiaron el destino

la gente empezó a luchar

por todo el estado de Texas

hubo huelgas, hubo marchas

hubo walkouts, hoteles organizados,

y hasta nacieron las boinas

los famosos Brown Berets

hubo un movimiento humano,

de los 40 centavos,

pedían uno y veinte y cinco

el puro mínimum wage

 

dejen decirles señores

dejen decirles señoras

que´l salario lo cambiaron

4 años después de este acto

a un dolar con cuarenta

despues de aquel digno día

hace medio siglo exacto

gracias a la valentía

del migrante campesino

que se oiga todos los días

que la viva la Raza mía !

 

email :  nephtali3000@hotmail.com

website :  — http://Nephtali.Net

Photos of 50th Anniversary celebration in San Antonio (2016)

50th Anniversary of Starr County Farm Workers March & Strike
September 5, 2016 – Labor Day
San Antonio, Texas

Op Ed: Heroic farm worker march galvanized Texas Hispanics

A Sept. 11 march commemorating the one 50 years ago will end at the Texas Capitol building in Austin.  Anna M. Tinsley Star-Telegram
A Sept. 11 march commemorating the one 50 years ago will end at the Texas Capitol building in Austin.
Anna M. Tinsley Star-Telegram

BY JAMES C. HARRINGTON

Special to the Star-Telegram

Labor Day this year is different from those of years past.

This Labor Day marks the 50th anniversary of the historic 490-mile march by South Texas farm workers from Rio Grande City to the capitol in Austin.

The workers went on strike in the cantaloupe fields of Starr County — Texas’ version of plantations — demanding a minimum wage of $1.25/hour. They were only averaging $.40/hour — $.60/hour on a good day.

They began the march on July 4 and traveled throughout the Valley, to Kingsville, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and on to Austin, under the blistering summer sun and in torrents of rain.

People put cardboard in their shoes as the soles wore down.

As they marched, more and more people joined them.

Some walked all the way; some, only part.

But they wanted to honor and support these workers — mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers — whose backbreaking work put food on the tables of Texans, at a pittance.

People along the way gave the marchers food and drink. Cowboys from the King Ranch helped out with tacos.

The dignity of the farm laborers and the justice of their cause moved their supporters.

These were people marching for a better life for their kids and grandkids and for their community.

Their message was that the injustice and indignity they, their parents and grandparents had had long suffered had to stop.

Then-governor John Connally, on his way to do some white-wing dove hunting, met the marchers in New Braunfels.

He told them they should turn around and he would not “lend the dignity of his office” to a Capitol rally.

Nor would he support their demand for $1.25/hour.

He drove off, and the workers kept marching.

They spent their last night at St. Edward’s University.

On Sept. 5, 1966, Labor Day, joined by 15,000 supporters from around Texas, they marched onward to the Capitol.

They did not win the $1.25/hour in 1966, but they did three years later.

It was not an easy struggle. Nor was the march their hardest test.

After returning home, they had to endure horrific brutality from the Texas Rangers in 1966 and 1967.

The Rangers, led by the notorious Captain A.Y. Allee, crushed the strike.

The farm laborers filed a civil rights case; and, in 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a scathing denunciation of the Rangers, Allee v. Medrano.

The 1966 March was the beginning of the Hispanic movement in Texas.

It galvanized Mexican Americans and their supporters.

The time had come to end the state’s sordid and violent century-long history of oppression.

The march was to the Hispanic community in Texas what Rosa Parks was to African Americans.

This year on Sunday, Sept. 11, there will be a commemorative march, again from St. Edward’s to the Capitol.

Some of the surviving 1966 marchers will be present.

Farm workers still have much to march for: better wages and working conditions.

That will be a goal of this year’s march, to be sure.

But it will also be an opportunity for us to honor the dignity and struggle of those courageous Starr County workers who made all our lives better when they set out for Austin in 1966.

This year’s march is our pledge to continue that struggle.

 

James C. Harrington, a human rights lawyer, is founder and director emeritus of the Texas Civil Rights Project.

EXPRESS NEWS: Farmworkers made history 50 years ago

Via the Express News

“Fifty years ago, Texas farmworkers demanding a minimum wage went on strike. Their subsequent march — along with supporters — from Rio Grande City to Austin to press these demands didn’t get that result.

They made history anyway.

They put Texas and the nation on notice that farmworkers — those who harvested what we ate — were due civil rights as well. A living wage is such a right.

This was 1966, two years after the Civil Rights Act. In a recent comment in this newspaper, Ed Sills of the AFL-CIO told the story of the march.

At the time, melon workers were paid 40 cents an hour for backbreaking work. No more, they said. They marched 490 miles to Austin, met on the way by then-Gov. John Connally, who told the marchers that he wouldn’t dignify their demands with a meeting in the Capitol.

Meanwhile, Texas Rangers and other Starr County law enforcement cracked down on the strikers, often brutally. Magdaleno Dimas suffered such a beating that his spine was curved out of shape and he suffered a concussion. This sparked the corrido “Los Rinches de Tejas.”

A U.S. district judge, ruling that Texas violated strikers’ rights, wrote, “It is difficult indeed for this Court to visualize two grown men colliding with each other so as to cause such injuries.” Di-mas and another man were severely beaten, and the Rangers said this was how their injuries occurred.

And here’s where history was made. In Allee vs. Medrano, the courts ended the use of public law enforcement as strikebreakers, what Texas did in effect. But the bigger trend was arguably the birth of the movement for Mexican-Americans rights generally in Texas and elsewhere.

On Monday, there will be a commemoration of the strike and the march, at 10 a.m. at Milam Park, 501 W. Commerce St.

It’s an event worth remembering.”

Cesar Chavez, farmworkers Labor Day march 50 years ago changed political landscape for Texas Latinos

Fifty years ago on Labor Day in Austin, a 21-year-old radio reporter  walked alongside Cesar Chavez as the activist marched with farmworkers and labor leaders to the Texas capitol building to highlight the plight of agricultural workers in the Rio Grande Valley. Phil Oakley interviewed Chavez and others during the march, also taking photographs that have never been published.

Click to link to view/hear his account of some of the events of that day in words, photos and audio clips:

http://beta.dallasnews.com/news/texas-politics/2016/09/02/cesar-chavez-farmworkersmarch50-years-ago-changed-political-landscape-texas-latinos