In 2003, former governor Jennifer Granholm established March 31 as César E. Chávez Day in Michigan. The date marks the birthday of the labor leader, who worked to improve the lives and livelihoods of impoverished, disenfranchised farm workers in the nation’s agricultural fields. Wayne State University’s Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies will commemorate the occasion with a public lecture by José Angel Gutiérrez, a contemporary of Chávez who played a vital role in shaping the direction of the Chicano Movement.
A Texas native who holds advanced academic degrees in political science and law, Gutiérrez became an activist, community organizer and reformer. He founded or co-founded several influential organizations that championed the democratization of social, educational and political institutions, including the Mexican American Youth Organization, the La Raza Unida Party, the National Council of La Raza, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The founder of the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, Gutiérrez has authored or co-authored over a dozen books on politics; history; higher education; land rights; and Chicanas in the public arena, student leadership, and aviation.
Gutiérrez’s public lecture will focus on his latest book, The Eagle Has Eyes: The FBI Surveillance of César E. Chávez and the United Farm Workers Union of America, 1965-1975. The lecture will be held on Wednesday March 27, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Wayne State’s General Lectures Hall, Room 150, located at 5045 Anthony Wayne Drive. Autographed copies of the book will be available for purchase. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.