César Estrada Chávez was born on March 31, 1927, on a small family homestead outside Yuma, Arizona. Over the next six decades, he went from back-breaking work in California’s fields to national fame, fighting for the rights of millions of farm workers.
Though he became an icon for Mexican Americans, he saw power in uniting people of all races. Drawing from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Chávez preached nonviolence and used striking, boycotting, and fasting to achieve farm workers’ goals.
Today, his life is celebrated with a commemorative federal holiday on his birthday, March 31. He's so beloved in California and the Arizona cities of Phoenix and Tucson that offices and schools are closed on the