In Southern Texas in 1966, the UFW supported the fruit workers strike in Starr County, Texas, and this led a march to the capitol in Austin, in support of UFW farm workers’ rights. Starr County farm workers who had led the strike in the melon fields in the summer of 1966, and marched 400 miles beginning on July 4 from the Rio Grande City in Texas, to Austin, arriving at the Capitol on Labor Day 1966. When they arrived, 10,000 people joined them to walk the last 4 miles from St. Edward’s University to the Capitol. Their struggle for economic justice sparked the Chicano movement in Texas. Governor John Connally refused to welcome them to Austin and denied their request for minimum wage.
The 1966 historical event should therefore be remembered, commemorated, and celebrated. This event laid the foundation in the fight for justice that continues today in the struggles for a living wage, for immigrant rights, for civil rights and for environmental justice. The marchers walked from the valley in Texas to the state capitol in Austin, seeking a livable wage for agricultural laborers. The marchers stayed at St. Edward’s University the last night of their journey. On the next day, September 5, Labor Day, they joined thousands of supporters for the final march down Congress Avenue to the capitol.
This was a very important event in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement (combined with the UFW farm workers’ struggle) in Texas. The 50th Anniversary Celebration of 1966 Starr County Farm Worker Strike that sparked the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in Texas , will therefore be commemorated this year on Sept. 11, 2016, in Austin, Texas. Chicanos and Chicanas will be able to make history again if enough persons participate in the upcoming event this year. Be sure to bring you best pair of walking shoes, too!
In addition, it is expected that many persons who participated in the original 1966 strike and march will be there! Then the march will be followed by scholarly and community presentations related to farm workers and Chicano activism. All this should make for an exciting and eventful day.
Margarito J. Garcia III, Ph.D.
(Su Hermano Mexica, Lipan Apache, y Chicano)