Dolores Huerta in mural by Susan Greene
Dolores Huerta says "VOTE!" (1 MB mp3)
From Freedom Archives audio archives
Photo: Scott Braley

Dolores Huerta

Dolores C. Huerta is the co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO ("UFW"). The mother of 11 children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Dolores has played a major roll in the American civil rights movement. In 1955, she was a founding member of the Stockton, CA chapter of the Community Service Organization (CSO), a grass-roots organization started by Fred Ross, Sr. The CSO battled segregation and police brutality, led voter registration drives, pushed for improved public services and fought to enact new legislation. Recognizing the needs of farm workers, while working for the CSO, Dolores organized and founded the Agricultural Workers Association in 1960. She became a fearless lobbyist in Sacramento, and in 1961 succeeded in obtaining the citizenship requirements removed from pension, and public assistance programs. She also was instrumental in passage of legislation allowing voters the right to vote in Spanish, and the right of individuals to take the driver’s license examination in their native language. In 1962 she lobbied in Washington DC for an end to the "captive labor" Bracero Program.

It was through her work with the CSO that Dolores met Cesar Chavez. They both realized the need to organize farm workers. In 1962, after the CSO turned down Cesar’s request, as their president, to organize farm workers, Cesar and Dolores resigned from the CSO. Dolores, single with seven children, joined Cesar and his family in Delano, California. There they formed the National Farm Workers Association ("NFWA"), the predecessor to the UFW.

Dolores at an organizing rally.

More: Dolores Huerta Foundation