Dolores at Smithsonian 7115

One Life: Dolores Huerta at the Smithsonian

Exhibit Opening – One Life: Dolores Huerta at the Smithsonian

Last October in a blog post, I announced that the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. had acquired Harvey Richards’ photo of Dolores Huerta taken in 1965 during the grape strike for use in their upcoming exhibit, “One Life: Dolores Huerta.” Now, the exhibit has opened and Dolores Huerta appeared there opening the exhibit standing in front of the mural-sized photo by Harvey Richards mounted in the hallway outside the exhibit.

The Smithsonian published the above photo about Dolores Huerta at the Smithsonian appearance. She is the first Latina woman featured in the ongoing Smithsonian series “One Life”. The Harvey Richards Media Archive is proud to have contributed to the much deserved national recognition that Dolores Huerta is getting. No one deserves it more. Congratulations Dolores Huerta.

Dolores Huerta at the Smithsonian affiliate Plaza de Cultura y Artes.

Dolores Huerta at the Smithsonian exhibit

This exhibit followed another exhibit, which also included photos by Harvey Richards, involving Dolores Huerta at the Smithsonian-affiliated Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Los Angeles, California which ran from April 10‒July 7, 2014.

Harvey Richards photographed farm workers on strike from 1957 to 1966. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s farm workers went on strike many times in a seemingly futile effort to win higher wages and better conditions in a labor market dominated by captive, low paid bracero labor.  The first strike efforts came from the United Packinghouse Workers Union who had successfully kept bracero labor away from the packing houses and had increased their wages and the number of contracts.  

Harvey photographed and filmed these early strikes, including the 1962 lettuce strike for $1.25 per hour centered in the Imperial Valley.   Factory Farms, the Harversters, and Uno Vientecinco were three films made for the UPWA and the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO.  His fourth farm worker film, The Land Is Rich,  told the story of the spring 1966 March to Sacramento by the United Farm Workers and the strike wave that preceded it, including the grape strike of 1965.   His films were used as organizing tools and fund raising for the unions. His farm worker photography is displayed in ten galleries on the Harvey Richards Media Archive website.

More on Harvey Richards Farm Worker Photography

Starting out as a film maker in the late 1950’s, Harvey chose California farm workers as his primary focus.  He toured the central valley documenting labor conditions in many crops, following the bracero buses to their destinations, filming packing houses and picket lines, migrant labor camps and families living on the banks of a river.Harvey Richards’ agricultural worker photography is collected in ten photo image galleries which captured the look and feel of a formative moment in the creation of industrial agriculture in the central valley of California (1957 to 1966.) He began photographing California agriculture while making his first films for the United Packing House Workers organizers, Factory Farms (1959) and The Harvesters (1960).

He toured the central valley documenting many crops.  He followed bracero workers from Mexico to the fields, into their barracks and dining halls. He photographed resident farm workers in the early morning shape-ups where labor contractors were hiring, in the labor camps and in their homes.  He photographed child labor in the fields and the long lines at soup kitchens when there was no work. And he photographed the wave of mechanization that swept over the central valley as growers prepared for the end of the bracero program.

Next, he turned his attention to farm worker strikes led by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee of the AFL-CIO and later for the United Farm Workers Union. He photographed strikers during the 1962 strike for $1.25 per hour in the lettuce fields of Imperial County and Fresno County (Uno Veintecinco), the grape strike of 1965 and the United Farm Worker’s Union march to Sacramento in 1966 (The Land is Rich).

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