KEENE, Calif. — A dozen teenage boys, nearly all Latino, spent the better part of a recent morning in a darkened room here at the Cesar Chavez National Monument, watching a film starring a man who died before they were born.
Nobody said anything. Nobody looked away or nodded off. Nobody got up to leave. Attention from this group from a foster-care center in Visalia, Calif., was rapt.
On the screen were flickering black-and-white TV images, probably as ancient as newsreel to these kids, of labor leader Cesar Chavez leading the United Farm Workers during the epochal grape strike in 1967.
It showed Chavez addressing scores of migrant farmworkers, some of them trying to hush crying babies in a packed meeting hall. It showed a grower in a suit and tie, telling an interviewer, straight-faced, “These men are extremely happy. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be coming from all over to work here.”