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Dolores Huerta

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Title: Dolores Huerta  
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Subject: National Women's Hall of Fame, Barbara Carrasco, Industrial Areas Foundation, Food Chains, Delano grape strike
Collection: 1930 Births, Activists for Hispanic and Latino American Civil Rights, American Feminists, American Labor Leaders, American People of Mexican Descent, American Women Activists, Labor Relations in California, Living People, Members of the Democratic Socialists of America, People for the American Way People, People from Colfax County, New Mexico, People from Stockton, California, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients, United Farm Workers, University of the Pacific (United States) Alumni
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Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta at the University of Chicago, 2009.
Born Dolores Clara Fernández
(1930-04-10) April 10, 1930
Dawson, New Mexico
Occupation Labor leader and activist

Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta (born April 10, 1930) is a labor leader and civil rights activist who was an early member of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). Huerta has received numerous awards for her community service and advocacy for workers', immigrants', and women's rights, including the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award, the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights[1] and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As a role model to many in the Latino community, Huerta is the subject of many corridos (ballads) and murals.


  • Early life 1
  • Career as an activist 2
  • Honors 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Archival collection 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Born on April 10, 1930, in the mining town of

  • Dolores Huerta Foundation
  • Dolores Huerta Celebrates 80th Birthday with Call for "Weaving Movements Together" - video report by Democracy Now!
  • Biography at Las Culturas

External links

  • Amsler, T.R. (2007 Summer). 'Si, Se Puede': Hayward teachers gain concessions and a valuable ally. Rethinking Schools, 21(4), 11.
  • Felner, J. (Jan/Feb 1998). Dolores Huerta. Ms, 8(4), 48-49.
  • Huerta, D. (Spring 2007). One more child left behind . Ms, 17(2), 79.
  • Perez, F (1996). Dolores Huerta. Austin, TX: Raintree.
  • Rose, M. (2004). Dolores Huerta: The United Farm Workers Union. In Arnesen, E (Ed.). Human tradition in American labor history. (pp. 211–229). Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc.
  • Rosenburg, R. (Editor & Director). (1996). Women of hope [Videocassette]. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities.
  • Schiff, K.G. (2005). Lighting the way: Nine women who changed modern America. New York, NY: Hyperion.
  • Telles, R & Tejada-Flores, R. (Directors). (1997). Fight in the fields [videocassette]. San Francisco, CA: Paradigm Productions.
  • Vogel, N. (2005, Sept. 7). Legislature OKs gay marriage; Assembly action sends the bill to the governor, who has signaled that he will veto the measure. Los Angeles Times, p. A1.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "Biography: Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta".  
  2. ^ García, Mario T. (2008). García, ed. A Dolores Huerta Reader. Albuquerque:  
  3. ^ """Delta College Cultural Awareness Programs Presents: "A Morning with Dolores Huerta. Delta College. September 22, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Dolores Huerta". Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Dolores Huerta Biography". 1930-04-10. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  6. ^ "La Voz de Aztlan - Volume I Issue 6". Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  7. ^ "DHF History". Dolores Huerta Foundation. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "About the Dolores Huerta Foundation". Dolores Huerta Foundation. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Dolores Huerta :: Biography". Dolores Huerta Foundation. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  10. ^ 100 most important women of the 20th century. (1st ed.). Des Moines, Iowa: Ladies' Home Journal Books. 1998.  
  11. ^ Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, official web site.
  12. ^ "Kappa Delta Chi National - Honorary Members". Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  13. ^ Author unknown (2007). Two Recipients Share This Year's Award. Community of Christ International Peace Award, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-03 from
  14. ^ Human Rights Leader Dolores Huerta Endorses Clinton, May 18, 2007, Clinton campaign news release.
  15. ^ "2008 Democratic National Convention: Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights Leader". 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2011-07-25. 
  16. ^ Elizabeth Kivowitz Boatright-Simon, UCLA's main commencement ceremony, UCLA Newsroom, June 10, 2009
  17. ^ CHICANA. Retrieved from
  18. ^ A CRUSHING LOVE. Retrieved from
  19. ^ "Legendary Labor Leader Dolores Huerta to speak at Mills College Convocation". Mills College. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Dolores Huerta Honorary Degree Conferral Open to the Public". 
  21. ^ "Architects of Peace". 
  22. ^ Cook, Rachel (26 April 2012). "Dolores Huerta will be given Medal of Freedom, White House announces". Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  23. ^ "Democratic Socialists of America :: Our Structure". Democratic Socialists of America. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "About EQCA :: Board of Directors". Equality California. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  25. ^ "10th Annual César Chávez Convocation with Dolores Huerta". University of California Santa Cruz College Ten. April 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  26. ^ Moreno, Carolina (June 20, 2013). "Dolores Huerta Receives National Award". Huffington Post. 
  27. ^ a b Quinones, Sam (2011-07-28). "Richard Chavez dies at 81; brother of Cesar Chavez (He helped Cesar Chavez build the United Farm Workers into a political and agricultural force. He organized the California grape boycott in the late 1960s.)".  


See also

The Dolores Huerta Papers are a part of the United Farm Workers Collections at the Walter P. Reuther Library. There is also significant material related to Huerta in the Cesar Chávez Papers.

Archival collection

Huerta married Ralph Head in college. During their marriage they had two daughters, Celeste and Lori. After divorcing Head, Huerta married Tyrone Huerta with whom she had five children. Their marriage ended over disagreements over many issues including her community involvements. Later Huerta had a long romantic relationship with Richard Chavez, the brother of César Chávez.[27] Huerta and Chávez never married, but the couple had four children during their relationship. Richard Chávez died on July 27, 2011.[27]

Personal life

She is portrayed by actress/activist Rosario Dawson in the Diego Luna's Cesar Chavez that opened in March 2014.

Four elementary schools in California; one school in Fort Worth, Texas; and a high school in Pueblo, Colorado, are named after Huerta.[9] One of the student centers at Pitzer College, in Claremont, California, is named the Huerta Learning Circle Room in the labor leader's honor. She was a speaker at the first and tenth Cesar Chavez Convocation.[25] In 2013, Huerta received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[26]

Huerta received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama on 29 May 2012.[22] She is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America[23] and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Equality California.[24]

In October 2010, she was awarded an honorary degree by Mills College, who lauded her as "a lifetime champion of social justice whose courageous leadership garnered unprecedented national support from farmworkers, women, and underserved communities in a landmark quest for human and civil rights".[19] The same month, she also was awarded an honorary doctorates [20] by University of the Pacific, which also unveiled an official portrait of her for the Architects of Peace Project by artist Michael Collopy.[21]

She was recognized by United Neighborhood Centers of America with its highest individual honor, the Jane Addams Distinguished Leadership Award at its National Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. in December 2008. She was awarded the UCLA Medal, UCLA's highest honor, during the UCLA College of Letters and Science commencement ceremony on 12 June 2009.[16] She is one of the subjects of the Sylvia Morales film A Crushing Love (2009), the sequel to Chicana (1979).[17][18]

On 18 May 2007, she announced her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president,[14] and at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Huerta formally placed Clinton's name into nomination.[15]

She was awarded the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship in 2002.[11] On September 30, 2005, she became an honorary sister of Kappa Delta Chi sorority (Alpha Alpha chapter - Wichita State University).[12] She received an honorary degree from Princeton University in recognition of her numerous achievements May 2006. She was lauded in the ceremony: "Through her insatiable hunger of justice —La Causa— and her tireless advocacy, she has devoted her life to creative, compassionate, and committed citizenship." She was co-recipient (along with Virgilio Elizondo) of the 2007 Community of Christ International Peace Award .[13]

Huerta was named one of the three most important women of the year by Ms. Magazine in 1997.[9] She was an inaugural recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from President Bill Clinton in 1998. That same year, Ladies' Home Journal recognized her as one of the 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century, along with such women leaders as Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, and Indira Gandhi.[10]


Huerta is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which she founded in 2002.[7] The Dolores Huerta Foundation is a [8]

Following a lengthy recovery she took a leave of absence from the union to focus on women’s rights. She traversed the country for two years on behalf of the Feminist Majority’s Feminization of Power: 50/50 by the year 2000 Campaign encouraging Latinas to run for office. The campaign resulted in a significant increase in the number of women representatives at the local, state and federal levels. She also served as National Chair of the 21st Century Party founded in 1992 on the principles that women make up 52% of the party’s candidates and that officers must reflect the ethnic diversity of the nation.

In September 1988, in front of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, the proceeds of which were used for the benefit of farm workers.[6] The assault is credited with starting yet another movement to change SFPD crowd control policies and the manner in which officer discipline is handled.

On June 5, 1968, Huerta stood beside Robert F. Kennedy on a speaker's platform at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as he delivered a victory statement to his political supporters shortly after winning the California Democratic presidential primary election. Only moments after the candidate finished his speech, Huerta was a safe distance behind Kennedy as he and five other people were wounded by gunfire inside the hotel's kitchen pantry. Only 15 min before the shooting, Huerta had walked through that pantry alongside the US Senator from New York while Kennedy was on his way to deliver his victory speech. Kennedy died from his gunshot wounds on June 6.

As an advocate for farmworkers' rights, Huerta has been arrested twenty-two times for participating in non-violent civil disobedience activities and strikes. She remains active in progressive causes, and serves on the boards of People for the American Way, Consumer Federation of California, and Feminist Majority Foundation.

In addition to organizing she has been highly politically active, lobbying in favor of (and against) numerous California and federal laws. The laws that she supported included the following:

In 1955, Huerta co-founded the Stockton chapter of the Delano grape strike, taking the plight of the farm workers to the consumers. The boycott resulted in the entire California table grape industry signing a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the United Farm Workers in 1970.[4]

Speaking at a rally in Santa Barbara, California on September 24, 2006.

Career as an activist

I couldn't tolerate seeing kids come to class hungry and needing shoes. I thought I could do more by organizing farm workers than by trying to teach their hungry children.

Huerta's community activism began when she was a student in Stockton High School. Huerta was active in numerous school clubs and was a majorette and a dedicated member of the Girl Scouts until the age of 18. Huerta attended college at the University of the Pacific's Stockton College (later to become San Joaquin Delta Community College), where she earned a provisional teaching credential.[3] After teaching grammar school, Huerta left her job and began her lifelong crusade to correct economic injustice:[1]


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