A&M International Lecture Series to Present Labor Movement Leader

Those intrigued by success stories of tenacious women who have made a difference in our society are invited to attend the Nov. 5 installment of the Antonio Sánchez Sr. Distinguished Lecture Series by labor movement leader Dolores Huerta.

The lecture, free of charge, is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Great Room of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

Huerta, one of the best known women in the American civil rights labor movement, will present "La Causa: A History of the United Farm Workers of America." Born on April 10, 1930 in New Mexico, Huerta went on to become a teacher, later becoming a pivotal force in the labor movement for farm workers.

In 1955, she founded the Stockton chapter of the Community Service Organization (CSO), a grassroots organization that fought for farm workers and non-citizens. It was during this time that she met Cesar Chavez. After the CSO turned down Chavez' request to organize farm workers, Huerta and Chavez resigned from the CSO to form the National Farm Workers Association, the predecessor to the UFW.

By 1965, Huerta and Chavez had recruited 1,200 Mexican-American farm workers and their families in California. Huerta and Chavez made history when their organization, together with other grape workers, organized the famous "Delano Grape Strike." That strike saw 5,000 grape workers walk off their jobs in the first such grassroots confrontation with the grape industry giant.

Dr. Jerry Thompson, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said that Huerta's lecture should provide a thorough introduction to a labor movement leader who has had a historical hand in renegotiating contracts with grape growers, lobbying in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., organizing field strikes, directing UFW boycotts and leading farm worker campaigns for political candidates.

"It is an honor for us to receive Dolores Huerta at A&M International. Needless to mention, she is a dynamic individual who can teach us the importance of endurance and persistence in accomplishing goals. I encourage the community to avail themselves of this opportunity to come and listen to a truly outstanding leader," Thompson said.

The Texas A&M International University Distinguished Lecture Series honors Antonio R. Sánchez Sr. (1916-1992). After 20 years as the owner of an office equipment business, in the 1960s, Sánchez began buying oil and gas leases and used his earnings to establish a bank. In 1974, Sánchez and his son, A.R. Sánchez Jr., along with geologist Brian O'Brien, established the Sánchez-O'Brien Oil and Gas Corporation. The same year, the father and son team discovered the largest natural gas field (Webb and Zapata Counties) to that point in history.

A.R. Sánchez Sr. is best remembered in Laredo for his philanthropic efforts. Known for his work ethic and generosity, he was a major crusader for a four-year University in Laredo and a supporter of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education fund. He was also a legendary Texas entrepreneur with a down-to-earth sense of humor.

This lecture series is presented through the vision and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Sánchez Jr.

Other speakers and lecture subjects to follow in the lecture series include Dr. Daniel D. Van Hoff, "Care for the Patient with Cancer: Progress and Prevention" (March 4); Robert Flynn, "Truth and Beauty: Confessions of a Hoehand" (April 5); and Dr. Mario Molina, "Depletion of the Ozone Layer: Consequences for the Environment" (April 22).

For further information, please contact the College of Arts and Humanities at 326-2460. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu