We Are Not Beasts of Burden

Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike, California, 1965-1970

From the Series Civil Rights Struggles around the World

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 9

“The only way we could win was to keep fighting for a long time…the only way we could win was by staying with it.”—Cesar Chavez

As the sun rose on September 8, 1965, in Delano, California, thousands of acres of ripe grapes hung heavy on the vine. But instead of harvesting the crop, Filipino farmworkers on nine large ranches laid down their tools and walked out of the vineyards in protest of their low wages and dangerous working conditions.

The strike quickly caught the attention of Cesar Chavez, who had been organizing Mexican American farmworkers through the United Farmworkers Union. Together, thousands of California agricultural laborers fought for their rights through strikes, boycotts, and a 250-mile (400-kilometer) protest march, the longest march in U.S. history. For more than five years, their struggle had the support of the American public and led to labor laws and agricultural practices that ensure the rights of all farmworkers to decent pay, safe working conditions, and other benefits.

In this compelling story of the rise of Cesar Chavez from local organizer to national civil rights hero, we’ll learn how he and other leaders of the grape strike endured violence and fought corruption to win rights for workers. And we’ll see how the story continues in the twenty-first century as the United Farmworkers Union works to protect the civil rights of every agricultural laborer in the nation.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 9
Genre Social Studies, Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: Immigration & Refugees, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Class, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 160
Publication Date 2010-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.5
BISACS YAN025220, YAN038130
Dewey 331.892'83480979488
Graphics 1-color illustrations, Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 6 x 8.5
Lexile 1150
ATOS Reading Level 9.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 138920
Accelerated Reader® Points 6.0
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Photo captions, Sidebars, Source notes, and Timeline


  • SSLI Book Award Honor Book, Commended, 2011
  • Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Young Adult Top Forty, Winner, 2011
  • California Collection, Winner, 2011

Author: Stuart A. Kallen

Stuart A. Kallen has written more than 350 nonfiction books for children and young adults. His books have covered a wide arc of human history, culture, and science. Kallen is also an accomplished singer-songwriter and guitarist in San Diego, California.