1965 Delano Grape Strike

The 1965 Delano Grape Strike: Exploring New Perspectives

On Display Now in the Historical Research Center Gallery

September 25 – March 1, 2016

Exhibit Hours: M-F 8am to 5pm or by Appointment

As new information is found, historians and communities learn more about past events. This exhibit was created with hopes that the viewer will leave with new knowledge about a very turbulent period of time in Kern County. The 1965 Delano Grape Strike is a major turning point in work conditions for agricultural laborers. Presented here are key figures and groups that participated.


Hagen was the district representative during the early strike years. Many of his constituents wrote to him expressing support or dismay for the Office of Economic Opportunity’s decision to grant funding to the NFWA. Letters from these writers can be found in the glass case. Copies of the NFWA’s newsletter, El Macriado, are located on the wall.


Various tools used to harvest grapes are located in the other glass case. Items include hand clippers, specialized knives, a scale, and a wheelbarrow for transporting boxed grapes. All items are on loan from the Delano chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society.


Photographs in this exhibit portray people and events significant to the Grape Strike. Of particular interest are AWOC’s key figures. There are two murals displayed, one in Delano and one in Los Angeles, depicting leaders of the movement. Also included are photos of Chavez’s memorial and La Paz, home of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the National Monument.


Letters representing the growers’ perspective can be found on the walls as well as one from a student organization expressing its support for the farm workers. Read the text of the scathing description of a strikebreaker which led to the arrest of Reverend David Havens. The 1965 Delano Grape Strike Key Players:


Philip Vera Cruz—(photo), AWOC cofounder and intellectual who pushed for farmworker education.

Larry Itliong–(photo), AWOC’s leader in Delano who fiercely fought for increasing farmworkers’ wages.

Peter Gines Velasco—(photo), A Delano Manong who worked with Itliong to form Delano’s AWOC.


Cesar Chavez-(photo), Leader of the NFWA and UFW and icon of the movement.

Dolores Huerta-(photo), Labor rights activist for the NFWA and UFW.

Fred Ross-Mentor to many labor organizers who is also known for advising Cesar Chavez during the strike.

Gilbert Padilla-Cofounder of the NFWA and a key farmworker organizer.


Robert DiGiorgio—(photo), The DiGiorgio Fruit Corp. owned the most farmland of all the Delano growers.

John Giumarra, Jr.—(photo), Giumarra Sr. had secured a vast vineyard by the time of the strike.

Martin Zaninovich— The voice of the growers, the exhibit presents his many claims regarding the strike.


Senator Robert F. Kennedy—(photo), Became a staunch UFW supporter who brought national attention to the strike.

Congressman Harlan Hagen—(photo), Pro-grower politician who called for investigations regarding federal funding to the striking organizations.

Governor Edmund G. Brown—(photo), California governor during the first two years of the strike.

President Lyndon B. Johnson—(photo), U.S. president who started “War on Poverty” policies.

Farm Worker Supporters

The Migrant Ministry-The California branch provided important organizational leadership and financial support.

United Auto Workers-Under Walter Ruether, the UAW openly supported the strike and provided important funding to continue the strike.

International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union-Helped the boycott by refusing to transport boycotted table grapes.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee-Supported the strike and boycott activities.