April 9, 2008
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Ilán Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture and Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor, has edited a new collection of the speeches and writings of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, titled An Organizer’s Tale ($16, Penguin Classics, 2008). “The project came along,” Stavans said, “when my Amherst College students expressed frustration that, unlike the cases of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, there was no book of Chavez’s own work.”
One of the most important civil rights leaders in American history, Cesar Chavez was an advocate of principles of nonviolence. Through his efforts, he helped achieve fair wages, benefits and humane working conditions for hundreds of thousands of farm workers. The book showcases speeches, essays and letters by Chavez, who was the leader of the Farm Workers’ Union and a major figure of the Chicano Movement of the late sixties and seventies. A number of the entries are published here for the first time.
The author of numerous books of fiction and non-fiction, Stavans is editor-in-chief of the four-volume Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture and Society in the United States (2005) and author of Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (2003), among many other publications. His 2006 short story The Disappearance has been adapted into a play, which will premier this fall in Los Angeles.
At Amherst since 1993, Stavans received a bachelor of arts degree from Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana, a master’s from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a master of arts, master of philosophy and doctorate from Columbia University.