This article coalesces historical grassroots developments in the Central Valley: the growth of Mexican Pentecostalism and its production of music, brewing legal tensions regarding voting rights and undocumented immigration, and the fledgling career of Cesar Chavez as a community-organizer-turned-labor-activist. At a time when Pentecostals were believed to be anti-union and apolitical, they joined the Community Service Organization and, through their singing, inspired Cesar Chavez to incorporate singing when he later formed his union/association. This article shows how the social conditions of labor and religion proved to be fertile soil for a productive encounter between Chavez, a Catholic, and a Pentecostal congregation in need of legal assistance. The well-publicized grape strikes and marches of the late 1960s, for example, incorporated religious iconography and music, the latter of which came from an idea Chavez developed from this unusual, productive encounter over a decade earlier with Mexican Pentecostals in 1954. The latter part of the article focuses on the religious overtones of music produced about Chavez and La Causa.
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Research Article| May 01 2017
More Spirit in That Little Madera Church: Cesar Chavez and Religious Soundscapes, 1954–1962
California History (2017) 94 (1): 26–42.
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Lloyd Barba; More Spirit in That Little Madera Church: Cesar Chavez and Religious Soundscapes, 1954–1962. California History 1 May 2017; 94 (1): 26–42. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ch.2017.94.1.26
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