Dolores Huerta

Steven W. Bender

in Latino Studies

ISBN: 9780199913701
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:
Dolores Huerta

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  • History of the Americas
  • US Cultural History


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Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 and a cofounder with César Chávez of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, Dolores Huerta (b. 1930–) is an iconic figure among Mexican Americans and social justice activists. Although most of the written work on her life centers on the heyday of the UFW formation, activism, and successes in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily in central California during the Delano grape strike, Huerta’s activism continues in the early 21st century through her leadership of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which she established in 2003. Complementing Huerta’s advocacy for fair worker pay and safe working conditions (especially protection against field pesticides) for farmworkers, her advocacy broadened over the years to encompass comprehensive immigration reform, public education funding and ethnic studies curricula, workplace sexual harassment, economic inequalities, and other issues of concern to Latinas and Latinos and especially families and youth. At the same time, in her role as vice president emeritus of the UFW, Huerta continued to advocate for dignity for farmworkers and their families. Despite her multiple roles and advocacies as a civil rights leader, labor leader, feminist, environmentalist, gay rights advocate, teacher, and mother of eleven children, it is surprising how sparse the written record is that addresses her many contributions, particularly in the etiology and techniques of organizing for social justice. Huerta’s life and body of work remain a fertile ground for scholarly research useful for those advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations.

Article.  1947 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; US Cultural History

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