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Miriam Pawel
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
A Biography of Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), Labor Leader and Community Organizer

The writing and preparation for publication of the first comprehensive biography of the migrant farm worker who became a leading activist and reformer.

My project is to write the first scholarly biography of Cesar Chavez, one of the last charismatic leaders of the 20th century. The book will be based largely on extensive collections of primary source documents--including journals, memos, letters, transcripts, and audiotapes--supplemented by dozens of lengthy oral history interviews. Through this material, and drawing on my expertise in the field, I will paint a dramatic, nuanced profile of the most significant Latino figure in the country's history, who has until now been portrayed in largely hagiographic terms that obscure his humanity and ultimately devalue his significance. The factual history of his remarkable rise and achievements, his charismatic leadership, and his mixed legacy offer a rich and very human story--more compelling than the mythologies that have grown up around Chavez in the absence of definitive, scholarly work.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Hispanic American Studies

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2013 – 12/31/2013