Earlier this year we quietly passed the fiftieth anniverary of the day Cesar Chavez submitted his resignation from a pretty comfortable job (light years away from the discomforts of the life of a campesino he’d left behind a decade earlier) in order to devote his energies to an effort that assured no income, no stability, and a good bit of personal endangerment: the formation of a union for farmworkers. It was March 31, 1962 — Cesar’s 35th birthday.
My article marking this decision and all that came of it appears in the new (August 27, 2012) issue of America magazine. In fact, the editors of the magazine have made it the cover story. That’s the cover there.
The article considers the way Catholic social teaching formed Chavez in the understanding and attitudes that fueled his work and gave it (and the movement it generated) the distinctively Catholic character it had for several decades. At the same time, the article does not fail to note his failings as both a Christian and as a leader.
The article is available online here. I’m pretty thrilled for my work to find a place on the pages, and the cover, of America.