"The Crusades of Cesar Chavez" with author Miriam Pawel

Date(s) - Tuesday 04/07/2015 - 04/08/2015
11:00 pm - 1:00 am

PuliCesar Chavez book covertzer-Prize winning journalist Miriam Pawel will speak about her book “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” at The Sanctuary for Independent Media on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 7:00 PM. Admission to the all-ages event is by donation ($10 suggested, $5 student/low income).  The Sanctuary for Independent Media is located at 3361 6th Avenue (at 101st Street) in North Troy; visit the website www.mediasanctuary.org or call 518-272-2390 for directions and more information.

Cesar Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Fifteen years after his death, Barack Obama entered the White House with a campaign slogan borrowed from Chavez: si se puede. Yes, we can. Today Chavez remains the most significant Latino leader in US history. His place in history is secure, but the route he travelled from migrant worker to national icon is shrouded in myth. That path has become well-worn that reality lies half-buried beneath the legends.

Author Miriam PawelIn “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography” (Bloomsbury Press / March 10, 2015, paperback), a finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Miriam Pawel offers a comprehensive biography of Chavez. Chavez emerges here as a visionary figure with tragic flaws; a brilliant strategist who sometimes stumbled; and a canny, streetwise organizer whose pragmatism was often at odds with his elusive, soaring dreams. He was an experimental thinker with eclectic passions—an avid, self-educated historian and a disciple of Gandhian non-violent protest. Drawing on thousands of documents and scores of interviews, Pawel’s portrait of Chavez deepens our understanding of one of his most salient qualities: his profound humanity.
Pawel traces Chavez’s remarkable career as he conceived strategies that empowered the poor and vanquished California’s powerful agriculture industry. “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” reveals how this most unlikely American hero ignited one of the great social movements of our time.
Miriam Pawel is the author of “The Union of Their Dreams,” widely acclaimed as the most nuanced history of Cesar Chavez’’s movement. She is a Pulitzer-winning editor who spent twenty-five years working for Newsday and the Los Angeles Times. She was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and lives in Southern California.

Cesar Chavez organizing“Engrossing… There is so much brilliant political theater in this book that it’s easy to see why Chavez is still the most celebrated Latino leader in American history.” – New York Times Book Review

“Pawel, rigorous and captivating, follows her history of Cesar Chavez’s crusade to protect farm workers’ rights, “The Union of Their Dreams,” with a zestful, dramatic, and redefining biography of the innovative, daring, and persevering activist…Pawel thoroughly chronicles every aspect of Chavez’s battles against California’s politically dominant produce growers, from audacious strikes to the now legendary national grape boycott to his penitential fasts. As she insightfully dissects Chavez’s troubled relationships with his inner circle and each phase in the rise and fall of his increasingly complex and mismanaged organization, Pawel portrays a visionary civil rights leader whose fame and near-beatification engendered tragic misuses of power, but who improved countless lives and raised global consciousness. Chavez’s epic story, told so astutely and passionately by Pawel, is essential to understanding today’s struggles for justice and equality.” – Booklist, starred review

This presentation is presented in cooperation with iEAR Presents! and Vasudha Living & Learning Community, supported by volunteer labor and small financial contributions from thousands of patrons of The Sanctuary for Independent Media.