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Farm Workers in Washington State


by Oscar Rosales Castañeda

This bibliography includes the major primary and secondary sources for research on farm labor organizing and the Chicana/o Movement in the State of Washington.

General Document and Image Collections

In Yakima, two collections have perhaps the most useful material on farm labor activism and the Chicana/o Movement: The Click Relander Collection and the Documents Collection at the Sundquist Research Library. Click Relander, former editor and author in Yakima collected a vast personal library related to Pacific Northwest history, and especially the history of the local American Indian population in Central Washington. Originally sold to a bookstore in Seattle and later purchased by anonymous donors, the collection was returned to Yakima where it is presently housed at the Yakima Valley Regional Library. Though rich in documents concerning the local history in the Yakima Valley, there was only one folder with material on labor. Nothing was found on movements post-1950.

Likewise, the Sundquist Research Library at the Yakima Valley Museum offers similar material. Though still in the process of organization, the library has an incredible wealth of material ranging from original clippings of newspaper articles concerning Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) activity in 1933, to formation of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and campaigns around farm worker housing in the late 1990s. Most material on the history of Chicana/o activism still overlaps with farm labor activism and is still small in comparison to other topics.

In the Seattle area, many of the document collections are at the University of Washington’s main campus. One archive housed at the UW’s Ethnic Cultural Center is the MEChA de University of Washington Document Collection which includes journals, organizational documents, resolutions, newsletters, position papers, photographs and random ephemera from 1968 up to the present day. Some of these documents may also be found on the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project’s “Chicana/o Movement in Washington State” Special Section, produced in collaboration with MEChA de UW.

A few notable collected works at University of Washington Libraries’ Special Collections area include The Tomas Ybarra-Frausto Papers, Teresa de Aragon de Shepro Papers, and Roberto Garfias Papers, all of whom are former faculty members at UW’s ‘Centro de Estudios Chicanos.’ The aforementioned collections include material ranging from the Chicana/o Student Movement, to Chicano Studies, the visual arts, literature, performance art (Teatro del Piojo and Teatro Quetzalcoatl), as well as educational equity and the emergence of UFWOC activity in Washington State. In addition, the collections also have important documents pertaining to the evolution of Urban Chicana/o Activism in Seattle. Specifically activity surrounding the development of Las Chicanas, MEChA, El Centro de La Raza, Activos Mexicanos, the Brown Berets (UW and Yakima Valley Chapters), as well as a host of others.

Other collections housed at UW Libraries also include the Office of Minority Affairs’ Records (which also include some MEChA de UW, Chicano EOP, and other documents). UW Libraries also offers additional sources on farm labor organizing in Washington’s Yakima Valley during the first half of the 20 th century, in particular the efforts of the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) Agricultural Workers Organization (later renamed the Agricultural Workers Industrial Union) in fighting free speech battles and organizing migrant workers in the fruit industry. Of note is the James G. Newbill: Research Materials on Yakima Valley Labor History, 1909-2001 (includes original research and interviews with participants of the IWW and the “Battle at Congdon Orchards” of 1933), the Claire Litchman Papers (relative of Mark M. Litchman, ACLU lawyer hired to represent IWW workers arrested in Yakima), the ACLU Papers, as well as the Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union Local 7 papers.

The Manuscript and Special Collections (MASC) Division at Washington State University also offer a wealth of knowledge as far as images and special documents that relate to the Chicana/o presence in Pullman. The two collections that stand out most are the Irwin Nash: Photographs of Yakima Valley Migrant Labor, 1967-1976 collection (the collection includes photos of migrants, camps and facilities, cultural projects, UW’s El Teatro del Piojo, UW Chicano Studies meetings, MEChA de UW, UW Grape Boycott, UFW, Cesar Chavez, etc.). Yet another collection in MASC at WSU Libraries is the WSU Chicano Archive, unveiled in late March of 2008. The new addition is perhaps the most comprehensive Chicano Archive in Eastern Washington and the best source concerning the history of the Chicana/o population in Pullman (since the 1950s) and subsequent student movements at WSU (1970-early 2000s).

Perhaps the largest collections both on farm labor and urban activist history can be found at the Walter Reuther Library’s Archive of Labor and Urban affairs at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, home of both the UFW and IWW Archives respectively. The Reuther Library also happens to be the largest Labor archive in North America, and holds more than 2000 collections relating to topics such as union history, working class organizations, Women and African Americans in the labor movement as well as extensive collections on radical social movements.

Click Relander Collection ( Yakima Valley Regional Library)

Sundquist Research Library ( Yakima Valley Museum)

MEChA de UW Archival Collection, Seattle, WA.

Tomas Ybarra-Frausto Papers (Special Collections, UW Libraries)

Teresa Aragon de Shepro Papers (Special Collections, UW Libraries)

Roberto Garfias Papers (Special Collections, UW Libraries)

UW Office of Minority Affairs-Records (Special Collections, UW Libraries)

James G. Newbill: Research Materials on Yakima Valley Labor History, 1909-2001 (Special Collections, UW Libraries).

Claire Litchman Papers (Special Collections, UW Libraries)

ACLU Papers (Special Collections, UW Libraries)

Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union Local 7 papers

WSU Chicano Archive (WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections).

Irwin Nash: Photographs of Yakima Valley Migrant Labor, 1967-1976 (WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections).

UFW Archive (Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University)

IWW Archive (Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University)

Online Archival Material

In addition to physical image and document collections, there are also archives found online that range from labor history to visual art movements in Washington’s Chicana/o and Latina/o community. One such source is the Chicano/Latino Archive hosted by The Evergreen State College Library. This research and teaching collection focuses on Chicano and Latino art in the Pacific Northwest, activity mostly during the 1970s and 1980s which ran parallel to literary and performance art movements and helped incorporate visual arts as a tool for expressing the goals of the Chicana/o Movement. Included in the archive is a guide to the original “Chicano/Latino Artists in the Pacific Northwest” exhibit (1984-86), an article from the UW-produced “Metamorfosis” journal on the state of the art movement, and an exhibit catalog, among others.

Another archive in Western Washington south of Seattle are the Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archives at Washington State University, Vancouver Campus. The project itself is done in collaboration with the Idaho, Oregon and Washington State Historical Societies, as well as with the WSU-Pullman. The project focus is to highlight the presence of the oft ignored ethnic minority groups in the tri-state Columbia River Basin region (Western and Southwestern Idaho, Northern Oregon, Southern and South-Central Washington).

The more general of this set of archives is, The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. The site itself is funded largely by the State of Washington, King County, the City of Seattle, the Seattle Public Library, the 4 Culture program in King County, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), and a set of other donors. Though a general reference of Washington State history, the site itself includes many essays on Chicano/Latino history as well as farm labor organizing, ranging from Spanish Expeditions into what is now Washington parting from Mexico’s West Coast (1774), to the introduction of Mexican Braceros in the Yakima Valley (1942), to the roots of Seattle’s Immigrant Rights Movement (1999), and the May Day marches in Seattle and Yakima (2006).

The University of Washington also houses two research units associated with Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. Created in 2004, the United Farm Workers in Washington State History Project documents the formation and evolution of farm labor history in the Yakima Valley from the late 1960s to the present (the unit is also undergoing an expansion). Of note are transcripts of interviews, a photo essay history of the UFW as seen through images donated by long time labor activist, Tomas Villanueva, as well as a page with external links to sites of interest.

The other of these two archives is the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project. Within the archive is the “Chicana/o Movement in Washington State History Project” which was initiated in 2005 with the aid of a group of undergraduate researchers connected to MEChA de UW. The section includes a history timeline, a collection of oral histories, a page containing photo collections donated, a slide show, a historical narrative, a list of digitized newspaper articles and a special documents collection from MEChA de UW’s archive.

The last archive listed is the An Oral History Of The Crewport Farm Labor Camp project produced for the Center for Columbia River History, a unit produced in collaboration between Washington State University and Yakima Valley Community College. The Crewport archive includes a historical narrative created by then YVCC Professor, Mario C. Compean, a list of oral history interviews, a photo essay as well as a set of documents.

Chicano/Latino Archive. < //>. The Evergreen State College. Accessed 11/15/08.

Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archives. < //>. Washington State University, Vancouver Campus. Accessed 11/15/08., The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, <//>. Accessed 11/15/08

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. < index.htm>. University of Washington. Accessed 11/15/08.

United Farm Workers in Washington State Project, <//>. Accessed 11/15/08.

An Oral History Of The Crewport Farm Labor Camp, Center for Columbia River History, <//> Yakima Valley Community College and Washington State University, Accessed 11/15/08.


There have been several books written on both Chicanas/os as well as farm labor history in the Northwest. Below is a brief list of full length studies. Of said sources, Alaniz and Hall have a broader focus as they look at subject matter in a larger regional and national context, yet both offer detailed narrative of activity in the northwest (Alaniz includes two appendices documenting UFW activity in Washington and the 1975 Student Strike at UW. Hall writes about IWW activity in Yakima in the late 1910s, Free Speech battles as well as the eventual suppression of early IWW activity by way of legislation such as the sedition act of 1917 and Criminal Syndicalism legislation). Likewise, Garcia (Gilberto), Gamboa and Swantes incorporate a regional Northwestern analysis. Garcia (Jerry) and Flores are more specific to Washington State.

Alaniz, Yolanda and Cornish, Megan. Viva La Raza, A History of Chicano Identity & Resistance. Seattle, WA: Red Letter Press, 2008.

Flores, Lauro Alfredo Arreguin: Patterns of Dreams and Nature Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2002.

Gamboa, Erasmo. Mexican Labor and World War II: Braceros in the Pacific Northwest, 1942-1947. Austin, TX.: University of Texas Press. 1990.

______________. Gritos del Alma : Chicano/Mexicano Music Traditions in Washington State Olympia, WA: Washington State Arts Commission, 1993.

Garcia, Jerry and Gilberto Garcia (Eds). Memory, Community and Activism : Mexican Migration and Labor in the Pacific Northwest. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2005.

Garcia, Jerry. Mexicans in North Central Washington. San Francisco, CA.: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

Hall, Greg. Harvest Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World and Agricultural Laborers in the American West, 1905-1930. Corvallis, OR.: Oregon State University Press, 2001.

Schwantes, Carlos A. Radical Heritage: Labor Socialism, and Reform in Washington and British Columbia. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1979.

General Surveys

Gamboa, Erasmo “Chicanos in the Pacific Northwest: Expanding the Discourse” Americas Review,

_____________ “Chicanos in the Northwest: A Historical Perspective,” El Grito 6 (Summer 1973).

Gil, Carlos. “The Many Faces of the Mexican American: An Essay Concerning Chicano Character” Working Paper Series, Centro de Estudios Chicanos, Department of History, University of Washington, 1982

_________ “ Washington’s Hispano American Communities” in Peoples of Washington: Perspectives on cultural diversity, eds. Sid White and E.E. Solberg. Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1989.

Johansen Bruce E. and Maestas, Roberto “The Creation of Washington’s Latino Community: 1935-1980” Seattle, WA: El Centro de la Raza, 1981.

Maldonado, Carlos and Garcia, Gilberto eds. The Chicano Experience in the Northwest Dubuque , IA : Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1995

Ph.D. Dissertations

Brunton, Anne Marjorie “The Decision to Settle: A Study of Mexican-American Migrants,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington State University, 1971.

Daniel, Cletus E. “Labor Radicalism in Pacific Coast Agriculture” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, 1972.

Gamboa, Erasmo “Under the Thumb of Agriculture: Bracero and Mexican American Workers in the Pacific Northwest, 1940-1950,” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, 1984.

Gunns, Albert F. “Civil Liberties and Crisis: The Status of Civil Liberties in the Pacific Northwst, 1917-1940.”PhD Dissertation, University of Washington, 1971.

Howenstine Erick, “Misperception of Destination Encouraging Migration of Mexican Labor to Yakima Valley, Washington,” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, 1989.

Miller, Margaret Ada. “The Left’s Turn: Labor, Welfare Politics, and Social Movements in Washington State, 1937- 1973.” PhD Dissertation, University of Washington, 2000.

Salazar, David “A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Chicano/a and Anglo Undergraduates’ Perceptions of Sex-Role Characteristics,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington State University, 1992.

Master’s Thesis

Chavez, Ramon “Emerging Media: A History and Analysis of Chicano Communication Efforts in Washington State,” Master’s Thesis, University of Washington, 1979

Enriquez, Roberto “Finding Common Ground: Chicano History, Poetry and Oral Tradition in the Classroom,” Master’s thesis, Evergreen State College, 1992.

Gamboa, Erasmo. “A History of the Chicano People and the Development of Agriculture in the Yakima Valley, Washington.” M.A. thesis University of Washington, 1973.

Garcia, Jerry. “The History of a Chicano/Mexicano community in the Pacific Northwest, Quincy, Washington, 1948-1993,” Master’s Thesis, Eastern Washington University, 1993.

James, Karen Maria “Bill’s Crew: A Small Group Yakima Valley Farm Workers Camp, 1967,” Master’s Thesis, University of Washington, 1968.

Lemos, Jesus. “A History of the Chicano Political Involvement and the Organizational Efforts of the United Farm Workers Union in the Yakima Valley, Washington.” Master’s Thesis, University of Washington, 1974.

Middaugh, Jon “Limiting Mobility: Migrant Farm Worker in the Yakima Valley, Washington, 1965- 1975” Master’s thesis, Washington State University, May 2002.

Miller, Margaret. “Community Action and Reaction: Chicanos and the War on Poverty in the Yakima Valley, Washington,” Master’s Thesis, University of Washington, 1991.

Patterson, Lynn Davis “The Migrant Way of Life: A Study in Yakima Farm Workers Camp,” Master’s Thesis, University of Washington, 1968.

Quesada Estrada, Josue. “ Texas Mexican Diaspora to Washington State: Recruitment, Migration, and Community, 1940- 1960.” Master’s Thesis, Washington State University, 2007.

Schmidt, Dorothy Nell. “Sedition and Criminal Syndicalism in the State of Washington, 1917- 1919.” Master’s Thesis, Washington State College, 1940.

Teel, Loretta Ann “An Exploratory Study of Association of North American Acculturation with the Risk of Domestic Violence Among Mexican American Migrant Farmworkers in a Rural Washington County,” Master’s thesis, University of Washington, 1992.

Wakefield, Richard R. “A Study of Seasonal Farm Labor in Yakima County, Washington.” Master’s Thesis, Washington State College, 1937.

Journal Articles/Book Chapters/Individual Reports

Brinkman, April Boutillette. “Freedom of Expression of Farm Workers in Washington State.” Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington, 2006.

Castañeda, Antonia “ Que Se Pudieran Defender (So You Could Defend Yourselves)’: Chicanas, Regional History, and National Discourses” Frontiers, V. XXII, N. 3 (2001)

Compean, Mario. “Mexican Americans in the Columbia Basin”. The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive. Washington State University, Vancouver Campus. < //>

Daniel, Cletus E. “Wobblies on the Farm: The IWW in the Yakima Valley.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Vol. 65 No. 4. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1974

Ehlert, Charles E. Report of the Yakima Valley Project. Seattle, WA: American Civil Liberties Union, 1969.

Gamboa, Erasmo “Mexican Migration into Washington State: A History, 1940-1950” Pacific Northwest Quarterly, 72, n. 3 Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1981

______“A Social Portrait: Chicano and Latino People of the Pacific Northwest.” The Evergreen State College Library | Chicano/Latino Archive. 2004


Garcia, Gilberto “Organizational Activity and Political Empowerment: Chicano Politics in the Pacific Northwest, in The Chicano Experience in the Northwest, ed. Carlos Maldonado and Gilberto Garcia Dubuque, IA.: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1995.

Garcia, Jerry “A Chicana in Northern Aztlan: An oral history of Dora Sanchez Trevino” Frontiers, v. 19, n. 2 (1998).

Newbill, James G. “Farmers and Wobblies in the Yakima Valley, 1933.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Vol. 68 No. 2. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1977.

Martinez-Vasquez, Cecilia “ In the USA-Its English or Adios Amigo’: The Politics of Race and Language in the Yakima ‘Old Town Pump” Court Case,” Mc Nair Journal, v.1 (Fall 2001)

Pataki, Kerry, “The Endless Cycle: Migrant Life in the Yakima Valley.” Seattle, WA: University of Washington, Department of Anthropology, 1968.

Reuss, Carl F. “The Farm Labor Problem in Washington, 1917- 18.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Vol. 34. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1943.

Rosales Castañeda, Oscar. “The Chicano Movement in Washington State 1967- 2006.” Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project. 2004-2006

Salas, Elizabeth. “Mexican American Women Politicians in Seattle,” in More Voices, New Stories: King County, Washingon’s First 150 Years, ed. Mary C. Wright. Seattle, WA: The Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, 2003, 215-31

Simer, Jeremy. “La Raza Comes To Campus: the new Chicano contingent and the grape boycott at the University of Washington, 1968- 69.” Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project. 2004-2006 <la_raza2.htm>

Ybarra-Frausto, Tomas. “Chicano Culture: Everyday Life in the Pacific Northwest.” The Evergreen State College Library | Chicano/Latino Archive. 2004


Literature, Music and Art

Special Issue, “On Literature and Art: The Americas in the Pacific Northwest” Americas Review, 1991

Flores, Lauro. Chicano and Latino Artists in the Pacific Northwest (Olympia, Evergreen State College, 1984)

Lauro Flores, editor, The Floating Borderlands: Twenty-five Years of U.S. Hispanic Literature Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1998.

Valle, Isabel Fields of Toil: A Migrant Family’s Journey Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press, 1994.

.Johansen Bruce E. and Maestas, Roberto El Pueblo: the Gallego’s Family’s American Journey, 1503-1980 (Monthly Review Press, 1983).

Castañeda, Antonia Ybarra-Fruasto, Tomas and Sommers, Joseph eds. Literature Chicana: Texto y Contexto Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1972. .


Yakima Morning Herald, Aug.-Sept 1933

Yakima Daily Republic, Aug.-Sept 1933

Yakima Herald-Republic, 1968-1988, 1995-2001

The Seattle Times, 1995-2001

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1995-2001

The University of Washington Daily, 1968-1969, 1972-1980

Industrial Worker, 1916-1935

Metamorfosis: The Journal of Northwest Chicano Art and Culture (Centro de Estudios Chicanos, University of Washington), 1977-1985

General Sources on the UFW and Chicana/o Activism at the National Level

Acuña, Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. Fifth ED. New York, N.Y.: Pearson Longman, 2004.

Ferris, Susan, Sandoval, Ricardo, Et. Al. The Fight In The Fields: Cesar Chavez And The Farmworkers Movement. Ed. Hembree, Diana San Diego, CA: Harvest/HBJ Books, 1998.

Meister, Dick and Loftis, Anne. A Long Time Coming: The Struggle to Unionize America’s Farm Workers. New York, N.Y.: Macmillan Publishing, 1977.

Mu ñoz, Carlos. Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement. New York, N.Y.: Verso, 1989.

Rosales, F. Arturo. Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement Houston, TX.: Arte Publico Press, 1997.

Online Resources

United Farm Workers Union of America < //>

Washington Agriculture Bibliography, UW Library < //>

The Farmworkers Website. <//>

Walter P. Reuther Library, UFW Exhibit. <//>

PCUN-Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United. < //>

Dr. Jose Alamillo’s Chicanos in Northwest Project. <//>

El Teatro Campesino Online < //>

Cesar E. Chavez Institute at San Francisco State University <//>

Ernesto Galarza Applied Research Center at University of California Riverside <//>

Holt Labor Library, UFW Collection <//>

Federal Bureau of Information’s FBI files, Cesar Chavez and the UFW. <//>

Farmworker Movement Documentation Project <//>

UFW Collection, Cal Poly Pomona. <//>


The author is indebted to and would like to acknowledge Dr. Jose Alamillo (formerly Associate Professor at Washington State University and now at California State University Channel Islands) and his “Latinos in the Northwest Project” as well as Tomas Madrigal (M.A. Washington State University, now a PhD student at University of California at Santa Barbara) and his “Pacific Northwest Oral History Project” for offering advice and whose prior bibliographies set a foundation for this one. Special thanks also go out to Josue Q. Estrada (B.A. University of Washington, M.A. Washington State University) for his ongoing support and for helping guide me to different sources through his “Tejano Migration to Washington State Research Project.”