Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

50 Years Later, Texas Farmworkers Remember Historic Protest

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard
Daria Vera shows a sign from the farm worker's strike of 1966.

From Texas Standard:

This is part one of a three-part series looking at farm workers in Texas.

Fifty years ago, farm workers in Texas walked off their jobs to protest their low pay and terrible working conditions. And in the searing summer heat of 1966, they staged a historic march across the state. Many were beaten and arrested, but most history books have overlooked it. Now, some of those original marchers are telling their stories.

Daria Vera has never forgotten that brutally hot summer back in 1966.

"Wait for me here," she says in Spanish, as she goes to the back room of her tiny home. Vera comes back holding a box. And shows me some of her pictures.

Pointing to a little girl on the picture, Vera says, "This is my daughter. She was so little – probably two years old. Always with us, even during the strike"

In 1966, Vera was only 20. Both she and her husband picked onions and cantaloupes for a living, with their child by their side.

"Ranchers used to pay us 40 cents an hour for picking cantaloupes," Vera says.

Wages were so low that kids as young as five years old would join in the picking to add to a family's income.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
Related Content