The Mysticism and Social Action of César Chávez

Stephen R. Lloyd-Moffett

in Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162271
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850365 | DOI:
The Mysticism and Social Action of César Chávez

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César Chávez could be said to be the most famous Latino figure in US history. He indirectly stepped into the gap left by the Mission Band and other civil rights advocacy groups silenced by Cold War patriotism and the growing conflict in Vietnam. Like Father Martínez in New Mexico, Chávez drew inner strength and resolve from his Catholic faith and its popular traditions, symbols, and rhetoric. This chapter shows that Chávez was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights movement. His fasts and pilgrimage from Delano to Sacramento were shaped by his reported deep mystical experiences with God. This chapter argues that we do not hear more about the spiritual dimension of Chávez's activism because the liberal intelligentsia have deliberately secularized his image to suit their own political and ideological goals.

Keywords: Latinos; Catholicism; social activists; César Chávez; mystical experiences

Chapter.  8234 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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