The Day – August 22

The Day – August 22

Holidays and observances

The Day – USA: August 22

National Bao Day
National Tooth Fairy Day
National Pecan Torte Day
National Be an Angel Day
National Eat a Peach Day
National Southern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day

The Day in US History: August 22

Mexican Americans and United Farm Workers of America

¡SÍ SE PUEDE!
(Yes We Can!)Slogan used by Cesar Chavez,
First president of the United Farm Workers

Boycott Lettuce and Grapes
Boycott Lettuce and Grapes,
1978.
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

On August 22, 1966, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC), later renamed the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), was formed. The UFWOC was established when two smaller organizations, the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), both in the middle of strikes against certain California grape growers, merged and moved under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO. Under the founding leadership of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, the UFW won many labor or civil rights concessions for disenfranchised  Mexican-American farmworkers, an important aspect of the Chicano movement. The Chicano movement has been an often-ignored part of the civil rights struggles in the 1960s; it was, nonetheless, a landmark period for the second-largest ethnic minority in the U.S.

Before the rise of the UFW, working conditions were harsh for most agricultural workers. On average, farmworkers made about ninety cents per hour plus ten cents for each basket of produce they picked. Many workers in the field were not provided even the most basic necessities such as clean drinking water or portable toilets. Unfair hiring practices, such as favoritism and kickbacks, were rampant. Seldom were their living quarters equipped with indoor plumbing or cooking facilities.

Migratory Mexican field worker's home
Migratory Mexican Field Worker’s Home on the Edge of a Frozen Pea Field,
Imperial Valley, California,
Dorothea Lange, photographer,
March 1937.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

Through a series of demonstrations, strikes, and protests, the UFW brought these issues to the public’s attention. In 1965, one of the first major actions taken by the UFW was to call for a boycott of table grapes, which became a nationwide boycott by 1968. Several other boycotts against lettuce and strawberry growers were organized in following years. On February 14, 1968, UFW President Cesar Chavez began the first of many fasts in protest of the treatment of farmworkers. During this first fast he received a strong letter of support from Martin Luther King Jr. On March 10, he broke the fast with Robert Kennedy at his side.

In 1973, the UFW organized a march through the Coachella and Imperial valleys in Central California to the United States-Mexico border to protest growers’ use of illegal immigrants as strikebreakers. The thousands of marchers were joined by the Reverend Ralph Abernathy and U.S. Senator Walter Mondale. In 1970, Chavez was jailed for defying a court injunction against boycotting. While imprisoned, he was visited by Coretta Scott King and Ethel Kennedy.

Through these dramatic moves the UFW won many important benefits for agricultural workers. It brought comprehensive health benefits for farmworkers and their families, rest periods, clean drinking water, sanitary facilities, and even profit sharing and parental leave. The UFW also has pioneered the fight to protect farmworkers against harmful pesticides.

Mexican Migrant Children
Migrant Mexican Children in Contractor’s Camp at Time of Early Pea Harvest,
Nipomo, California,
Dorothea Lange, photographer,
January 1935.

Mexican Girl, Carrot Worker
Mexican Girl, Carrot Worker,
Edinburg, Texas,
Russell Lee, photographer,
February 1939.

Filipino Crew Cutting and Loading Lettuce
Filipino Crew of Fifty-five Boys Cutting and Loading Lettuce,
Imperial Valley, California,
Dorothea Lange, photographer,
February 1937.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

Learn more about farmworkers and labor unions in American Memory:

Let’s Go to the Fair!

Our state fair is a great state fair,
Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
“Our State Fair,”
Music by Richard Rodgers, words by Oscar Hammerstein II

The Winner
Winner at the Delta County Fair, Colorado,
Russell Lee, photographer,
October 1940.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1939-1945

August 22 falls in the midst of the state and county fair season. State and county fairs are an American pastime in the late summer and early fall—a remnant of a cross-cultural tradition rooted in ancient times.

The earliest fairs, such as the great Aztec fair that Spanish conquistadors found on the present-day site of Mexico City, were created to solve problems of distribution. Located along major trade or pilgrimage routes, fairs and festivals provided opportunities for people to demonstrate their skills and crafts, exchange ideas, and barter for goods.

The Day, fairs provide opportunities for travel, entertainment, commerce, and socializing, and also play an important role in the social and economic lives of rural Americans. For urban folk, they provide a means of learning about and appreciating rural and agricultural lifestyles.

Livestock and agriculture competitions sponsored by manufacturers and agricultural societies, such as the 4-H Club are fixtures of state and county fairs as are various other contests. Traditional homecrafts such as quilting, lacemaking, rugmaking, baking, and canning, are showcased and awarded ribbons for “best of show.”

Mrs. Bill Stagg With State Quilt
Mrs. Bill Stagg With State Quilt,
Pie Town, New Mexico,
Russell Lee, photographer,
October 1940.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1939-1945

Interviews from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940include many accounts of fair visits:

The State Fair…was the biggest social event of the year. Everybody who was anybody as well as those who were not would come from all the country round about…to exhibit…stock and products.”Pioneer Reminiscences,”
Portland, Oregon,
Sara [B.?] Wrenn, interviewer,
January 13, 1939.
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940

…we regarded a visit to Columbia and the State Fair then just about like you or I would look upon a visit to London or Berlin now.”Judge J. H. Yarborough,”
Winnsboro, South Carolina,
W. W. Dixon, interviewer,
June 28, 1938.
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940

Outside exhibition halls, fairgoers sample entertainment ranging from country music to races and pie-eating contests, follow midway barkers’ calls to take in sideshows, try for prizes in game booths, and indulge in cotton candy or a ride on the ferris wheel.

Girls at 4-H Club Fair
Girls at 4-H Club Fair, Cimarron, Kansas,
Russell Lee, photographer,
August 1939.

a poster displayed behind a table covered with plates
Poster in Agricultural Exhibit. South Louisiana State Fair, Donaldsonville, Louisiana,
Russell Lee, photographer,
October 1938.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

The Fair's the Day to Talk
The Fair’s the Day to Talk, Albany, Vermont,
Carl Mydans, photographer.
September 1936.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

Learn more about fairs and festivals in American Memory:

The Day in History – August 22-External Links

The Day’s Weather in History
The Day in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
The Day’s Document from the National Archives
The Day’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
The Day in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – The Day’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
The Day in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia