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Friends and Foes: Religious Publications and the Delano Grape Strike and Boycott (1965-1970)

From: American Catholic Studies
Volume 124, Number 1, Spring 2013
pp. 23-42 | 10.1353/acs.2013.0012



This article explores the role that national religious publications played in the contentious Delano Grape Strike of 1965. It examines how unionization efforts among California farm workers and the national boycott of table grapes played out in the religious press, with an eye towards its significance for the movement. While conservative opposition and pushback was expressed in a few publications, the majority of the religious press, meanwhile, offered positive and sympathetic accounts of the farm workers and their boycott, which was born out of a struggle for better wages, union representation, and improved working conditions. Amidst this widespread coverage, the U.S. Catholic bishops, initially neutral, intervened in the dispute by acting as a mediator. With the help of the bishops and other church leaders, the dispute was resolved in 1970 on terms favoring the farm workers.

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