Stanford University
Ernesto Galarza Commemorative Lectures

The lecture series honors the memory of Ernesto Galarza, a man of vision who was a community leader, an activist, and a scholar. His work was associated with Stanford from his graduate studies in Latin American history to his work with a community health center in San Jose. Galarza blended the toughness of an organizer with the tenderness of a poet and writer of children’s stories. Ernesto Galarza spoke both to the suffering inflicted on Chicanos in the United States and to the hope held for future generations. Perhaps the lectures in his name can renew Galarza’s vision for those of use who have followed after

Renato Rosaldo
April, 1988

Ernesto Galarza (1905-1984)

Born in Jalcocotán, Nayarit, Mexico, on August 15, 1905, Dr. Ernesto Galarza came to the United States when he was 8 years old. One of Stanford’s first Chicano alumni, Galarza received a Master’s degree in Latin American History and Political Science in 1929. After graduation he married Mae Taylor and eventually went on to complete a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 1944.

An intellectual, civil rights and labor activist and scholar, he was a pioneer during the decades when Mexican Americans had few public advocates. As a youth, Dr. Galarza worked as a farm laborer in Sacramento and he dedicated his life to the struggle for justice for farm workers and the urban working-class Latinos, and to changing existing educational philosophy and curricula in the schools. During the 1950’s, Dr. Galarza helped build the first multiracial farm worker union, which set the foundation for the emergence of the United Farm Workers Union. His civil rights legacy also includes the founding of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

In 1979, Dr. Galarza was the first U.S. Latino to be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include: Strangers in our Fields (1956), Merchants of Labor (1964), Spiders in the House and Workers in the Fields (1970), Barrio Boy (1971), Farm Workers and Agribusiness in California (1977), and Tragedy at Chualar (1977). Galarza’s papers and archives are housed in the Department of Special Collections at Stanford.

Inaugural Lecture 1986
“The Undying Love of “El Indio” Córdova: décimas and Oral History in a Border Family”
Americo Paredes, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas, Austin

Second Annual Lecture 1987 (878K pdf)
“Democracy and Diversity”
Cruz Reynoso, Former California Supreme Court Justice

Third Annual Lecture 1988 (550K pdf)
“Resolana: A Chicano Pathway to Knowledge”
Tomás Atencio, Associate Director of the Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, University of New Mexico

Fourth Annual Lecture 1989 (352K pdf)
“The Passing Gusts of Social Change”
Herman Gallegos, management consultant

Fifth Annual Lecture 1990
“On the Bridge, At the Border: Migrants and Immigrants”
Arturo Islas, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

Sixth Annual Lecture 1991
“Silent No More—A Latina’s Vision for Leadership”
Polly B. Baca, Executive Director, Colorado Institute for Hispanic Education and Economic Development

Seventh Annual Lecture 1992
“Mestizaje: The Formation of Chicanos”
Julian Samora, Professor Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

Eighth Annual Lecture 1993
“Latinos in the Decade of the 90’s: A Political Coming of Age”
Antonia Hernandez, President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)

Ninth Annual Lecture 1994
“Ernesto Galarza’s Legacy to the History of Labor Migration”
Jorge A. Bustamante, President, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, and Eugene Conley Professor of Sociology, University of Notre Dame

Tenth Annual Lecture 1995
“Memory, Cultural Identity and the Social Imaginary: Art of the Chicana/o Community”
Amalia Mesa-Bains, Artist

Twelfth Annual Lecture 1997
“The Political Integration of Racial and Ethnic Minorities”
Joaquín G. Avila, Voting Rights Attorney

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