Delano Strike and Grape Boycott
What was the Delano Strike and Grape Boycott and why was it important?
The Delano Strike was a major turning point in the development of the a farm workers union and for creating solidarity across ethnicities. The ensuing grape (and lettuce) boycotts were key to building awareness, solidarity and support across the whole USA.
Background on Boycott
Origin of the Word
During the Irish ‘Land Wars’ in 1880, an Irish land agent Charles Boycott (on behalf of absentee landlord Lord Erne) decided to evict nonpaying tenants, the Irish Land League called upon people to stop working in the fields, stables and households; he was shunned by local businesses and the local postman. Local businessmen wouldn’t take his money, and the postman refused to deliver his mail. Boycott imported labor to harvest the crops, but the added expense consumed the revenues generated by the harvest. The term ‘boycott’ became widely used See wikipedia for quick summary or xxx for more details.
Prior U.S. Boycotts
Townshend Acts and Boston Tea Party: In June 1767, Parliament cut British land taxes, and tried to finance its troops in the Colonies by taxing the colonists, passing the Townshend Acts, which taxed items like paper, lead, glass, paint and tea shipped from England. They thought this might be better accepted than the Stamp Act (which taxed printed materials). The Colonists in New York and Boston ‘boycotted’ all British goods in August 1768 and were joined by Philadelphia New Jersey, Rhode Island and North Carolina. These were repealed in March of 1770, except for the taxes on tea. The Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. (and we all know how well that turned out)
Civil Rights Movement boycotts: bus boycotts in Baton Rouge (1953) Montgomery (1955) and Tallahasse (1956) were directed towards ending segregation on the buses and were key moments in the development of the Civil Rights Movement.
The inspiration of Gandhi
Gandhi’s influence on the adoption of non-violence as a philosopy and method was significant for both the Civil Rights Movement and the farmworkers organization.