Library displays Chavez exhibit

Associated Press

In His Own Words opens tonight in Library

In an effort to celebrate the College of Arts and Humanities centennial month, the department of communications is displaying an exhibit that features the life and accomplishments of Mexican-American labor hero Cesar Chavez.

In His Own Words: The Life and Work of Cesar Chavez will feature a timeline paired with pictures taken of his life, starting from his childhood. The exhibit highlights Chavez’s efforts to make farmworker’s rights a reality.

“The exhibit includes 38 photos that go alongside autobiographical reflections Cesar Chavez wrote himself,” said John Hammerback, the exhibit’s chief scholar. “The whole communications department has been extremely supportive of the exhibit.”

The communications department chair, Kathy Adams, was instrumental in getting the exhibit to come to Fresno State.

“I was just coming into my current position with the department and Kathy came to me to tell me we have this great exhibit coming, and I thought that was just fantastic,” said Doug Fraleigh, who is acting as the department chair while Adams is on sabbatical. “There’s a lot to be learned from an exhibit like this.”

Fraleigh expects a large turnout for the opening night of the exhibit.

“We’ve invited faculty and graduate students as well as undergraduate students to come,” said Fraleigh. “It’s an incredible opportunity to have the exhibit here.”

Humanities Texas, the Texas-based historical organization that put the collection together, features exhibits like In His Own Words as traveling exhibits.

“The exhibit was shown at San Francisco State University and University of Washington,” said Hammerback. “It’s usually on display in one location for six weeks in places like cultural centers, universities and high schools.”

Hammerback, who travels to about half of the locations where the exhibit is shown, claims Chavez’s lifelong dedication to his Catholic faith played a central role in the exhibit.

“The religious element is as important and interesting as anything else in the exhibit,” said Hammerback.

In addition to the exhibit, Fresno State hosted Hammerback as a keynote speaker to a Chicano and Latin American studies class.

“I try to chronicle and demonstrate his work when I talk about the accomplishments of Cesar Chavez,” said Hammerback. “He formed the first permanent union of farmworkers. He had no political power.”

In His Own Words opens tonight in the Ellipse room in the Henry Madden Library at 7 p.m. and runs through Nov. 23. The exhibit is free to the public.

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