Dr. Juan I. Mora examines three groups of Latinxs as they used postwar migration, temporary guest-worker programs, and agricultural labor to redefine migrant power, justice, and rights in the twentieth century Midwest, and particularly in Michigan. He shows that Latinx migrants melded distinct claims to U.S. citizenship, ethnic identity, and labor rights through conflicts over access to intermediary influence, shifting processes of racialization, and the politics of foodways. Mora is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University.
Dr. Clay Walker explains how César Chávez’s lifeworld discourse – the language, culture, and experiences that shaped who he was and how he encountered and navigated the world – uniquely prepared him to lead the United Farm Workers and effectively communicate his message to a diverse audience. Dr. Walker is a senior lecturer in English and literacy studies at Wayne State University.
Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English
Host: Dan Golodner
Interviewee: Clay Walker
With support from the Reuther Podcast Collective: Bart Bealmear, Elizabeth Clemens, Meghan Courtney, Troy Eller English, Dan Golodner, Paul Neirink, and Mary Wallace
Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez explains how labor laws helped define the modern boundaries of childhood and citizenship for both internationally and domestically migrant Latinx children working on American farms. Despite the child labor ban supposedly implemented in 1938 as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act and later laws, legal loopholes have allowed migrant Latinx children to continue to work on American farms today and have limited their access to education. Padilla-Rodríguez explains how advocates fought to enact social welfare initiatives for farmworking children along their migratory route, while teachers and women UFW organizers pursued legislative channels to try to get stricter child labor protections, and special educational and childcare programs created for migrant youth. Padilla-Rodríguez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Columbia University Department of History and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Latinx Research Center.
John Buchkoski explores the role that religious women had in grassroots social activism in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly organizations of Catholic women religious. He explains how these groups supported United Farm Worker strikes by publicizing the environmental and health effects of pesticide use and popularizing produce boycotts across Catholic communities. Buchkoski is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oklahoma.
In part 2 of our interview with Dawn Mabalon, she explains how her personal and familial interests influenced her research on the life and work of United Farm Workers labor organizer Larry Itliong, as well as her forthcoming children’s book, Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong. Dr. Mabalon is an Associate Professor at San Francisco State University and a co-founder of the the Little Manila Foundation, which “advocates for the historic preservation of the Little Manila Historic Site in Stockton, California and provides education and leadership to revitalize our Filipina/o American community.”
Her research draws heavily on the personal papers of Larry Itliong, as well as records from other farm labor leaders found in the United Farm Workers collections at the Reuther Library. Mabalon’s research visit was supported through a Sam Fishman Travel Grant, which provides up to $1,000 for scholars to support travel to Detroit to access archival records of the American labor movement in the Reuther Library. The award is named in honor of Sam Fishman, a former UAW and Michigan AFL-CIO leader.
In this inaugural episode of Tales from the Reuther Library, Dawn Mabalon, an Associate Professor at San Francisco State University, shares her research on the life and work of Larry Itliong, a Filipino leader of California’s farm labor movement. She explains to Reuther archivist Dan Golodner the relationship between Filipino and Mexican farm workers, reframing this struggle in multi-ethnic and multi-generational contexts to be more inclusive of radical Filipino American perspectives. Continue reading Dawn Mabalon on UFW labor organizer Larry Itliong – Part 1→