Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ventura County Farm Worker History

Manuel Unzueta presented a lecture on Saturday, October 6th, at the Rancho Sespe community center in the city of Fillmore, California. Unzueta spoke on the origins of farm worker corridos that emerged out of a joint project in the 1970s consisting of University of California at Santa Barbara academics and the Casa de la Raza. In promoting the Unzueta lecture, Ventura County activist Moses Mora detailed that, “some (then) young local Chicano academics put forth a call to farmworkers from Santa Maria to Ventura County to submit poetry and songs about their lives. They were overwhelmed with the response and got the Library of Congress in documenting this history.” A book was also published. Titles within the Alma Chicana de Aztlan cd are: El Corrido del Chicano/Mexicano, El Corrido del Rancho Sespe, La Sobrina, Corrido del Chino Valdez, La Despedida al Rancho Sespe, El Mojado, Yo Soy Mexicano Señores, Tanto Tienes, Tanto Vales, Corrido del Campesino and Corrido a Damian García. These songs document the experiences of struggle and perseverance among farm workers.

Before the lecture Aztec dancers performed before guest and residents of the Rancho Sespe farm worker housing community of the Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation. Moses Mora, Dr. Gabino Aguirre, and Manuela Aparicio-Twitchell are currently organizing Manuel Unzueta speaking engagements in Santa Paula, Oxnard, and, possibly, at California State University Channel Islands.

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