Skip to main content

Lesson

Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement
¡Sí se puede! Advocating for Farm Workers
Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement / ¡Sí se puede! Advocating for Farm Workers

“Sí se puede” (Yes We Can) is a chant that was made famous by Dolores Huerta, one of the most important leaders of the farm workers movement (a distinct facet of the Chicano movement). As workers joined the picket lines and fought for fair wages and safer working conditions, chants and communal singing provided a sense of unity and gave people courage to continue the strike . . . even when they faced danger in doing so. Today, you are invited to imagine life through the eyes of a migrant farm worker in the 1960s. Learn about musicians who energized the political messages of the United Farm Workers union and experience the popular Spanish-language folksong, "De colores," from an entirely new perspective.

Lesson Components & Learning Objectives

  1. ¡Sí se puede! (Yes We Can!)

    • Identify the two main goals of the farm workers movement and explain the two main strategies that were used to achieve these goals.
    • Approx. 45 minutes
  2. De colores: Music of the March

    • Sing “De colores,” with technical accuracy while conveying expressive intent.
    • Explain the context within which “De colores” was sung during the Chicano movement.
    • Approx. 30 minutes
  3. Exploring the Music of El Teatro Campesino

    • Describe the main mission of El Teatro Campesino.
    • Identify and demonstrate the ways in which members of El Teatro Campesino used music elements and expressive qualities to convey expressive intent.
    • Approx. 30 minutes

More +
Less -

Bibliography

Text

Azcona, E. C., & Rodriguez, R. (2005). Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Montoya, M. (2016). The Chicano movement for beginners. For Beginner Books.

National Museum of American History (n.d.). How César Chávez changed the world. Smithsonian Magazine.

Rodriguez, R. (2016). Songs of struggle & hope, by Agustín Lira [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Romasanta, G. (2019). Why it is important to know the story of Filipino-American Larry Itliong. Smithsonian Magazine.

Rosales, F. A. (1996). Chicano! The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement. Arte Público Press.

National Museum of American History (n.d.). Short-handled hoe. In The object of history.

Zettler, J. (2009). Corridos of the Chicano movement, by Rumel Fuentes [Liner notes]. Arhoolie Records.

Audio*

El Teatro Campesino (2005). Niños campesinos [Audio recording]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

El Teatro Campesino (2005). Yo no le tengo miedo a nada [Audio recording]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Children from the School of Santa Isabel, East Los Angeles, with Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles (2005). De colores [Audio recording]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

El Teatro Campesino (2005). El picket sign [Audio Recording]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Valdez, D., & Lira, A. (2000). The Migrant’s song [Audio recording]. On Broadside ballads, vol. 4: The time will come and other songs from Broadside Magazine [Album]. Broadside Records.

Video*

Smithsonian Folklife (2019, March 29). Making music for the march: Agustín Lira on César Chávez [Video]. Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington, DC, CFV11155.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access & National Portrait Gallery (2017, January 11). ¡Sí se puede! One life: Dolores Huerta [Video]. Smithsonian Education.

Sheehy, D., & and Weber, C. (2019, July 19). Filipinos in the UFW movement: Agustín Lira & Patricia Wells Solórzano on Larry Itliong [Video]. In Why every Filipino American should know about Larry Itliong [Online article]. Smithsonian Folklife Magazine, Washington, DC, CFV11162.

Images*

Viramontes, X. (1973). Boycott grapes, support the United Farm Workers union [Offset lithograph on paper]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto.

Unkown artist (ca. 1960). Sí se puede, boycott lettuce and grapes [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. United Farm Workers poster, 1977.0660.08.

Hemmig, R. (1941). Group of children posing under sign that reads “U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Security Administration Farm Workers Community” [Photograph]. In Voices from the Dust Bowl: Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Workers Collection, 1940 to 1941. American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, AFC 1985/001.

Lewis, J. (1966). Agustín Lira and El Teatro Campesino [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope, by Agustín Lira [Liner notes], 2016, p. 7. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Unknown artist (ca. 1962). Pinback button for the National Farm Workers Association [Badge pin]. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of T. Rasul Murray, 2013.68.4.1-.2.

Richards, H. (1965). Dolores Huerta, Delano, California [Photograph]. Smithsonian Newsdesk, Washington, DC. Courtesy of the Harvey Richards Media Archive.

Allied Printing Trades Council (n.d.). Teatro Campo “La huelga” [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Courtesy of John A. Armendariz, PL.296849.25.

Richards, H. (1966). Cesar Chavez during the march to Sacramento [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Courtesy of John A. Armendariz, 1996.0250.02.

Unknown artist (ca. 1970). Dolores Huerta speaks at UFW rally [Photograph]. In Smithsonian traveling exhibition showcases Dolores Huerta’s leading role in the farm workers’ movement [Online article]. Smithsonian Newsdesk, 2019. Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Unknown maker (n.d.). Short-handled hoe, 1950s and 1960s [Object]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Luis Diaz Zavala, 2009.0134.01.

Nadel, L (1956). Braceros working with short-handled hoes [Photograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 2004.0138.49.38.31.11.

Unknown artist (ca. 1970). Huelga/no violencia/en Salinas [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Courtesy of John A. Amendariz, PL296849.31.

Favela, R. (1976). Boycott grapes & lettuce [Screenprint on paperboard]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, 1995.50.47.

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (n.d.). Huelga, United Farm Workers [Flag]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, PL321807.19.

Unknown artist (n.d.). Larry Itliong [Photograph]. In Why it is important to know the story of Filipino-American Larry Itliong [Online article], by Gayle Romasanta. Smithsonian Magazine, July 24, 2019. Courtesy of the Filipino American National Historical Society.

Unknown artist (n.d.) Chunky Sanchez with César Chávez [Photograph]. In Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Liner notes], 2005, p. 3. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of Chunky Sanchez, SFW40516.

Davies, D. J. (1967). El Teatro Campesino [Photograph]. In Broadside ballads, vol. 4: The time will come and other songs from Broadside Magazine [Liner notes], p. 5. Broadside Records, New York, NY. Provided by Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution, FP-DAVI-BWPR-0056.

Lewis, J. (1966). Agustin Lira and Luis Valdez perform at a farmworker rally [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope, by Agustín Lira [Inside front cover], 2016. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Nadel, L. (1956). Braceros picking lettuce [Photograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 2004.0138.20.44.

Unknown artist (n.d.). Farmworkers strike to save their union [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Commissioned by United Farm Workers, courtesy of W. E. Martin, 1992.0224.68.

Ramirez, M. (1975). MAYO march on University of Texas at Austin campus [Photograph]. In Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement[Liner notes], 2005, p. 5. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40516.  

Gamboa Jr., H. (2012). Louie Pérez, musician (Los Lobos) [Gelatin silver print]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Acquisition made possible through the Smithsonian Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, NPG.2016.74.

Segur, H. (1973). Singing on the UFW picket line [Photograph]. In Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement[Liner notes], 2005, p. 4. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40516.

Correll, R. (1970). Vineyard march [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Courtesy of Anne B. Zill. Affiliated union: United Farm Workers, 1986.0231.051.

Richards, H. (1966). Farm workers march from Delano to Sacramento [Photograph]. Smithsonian Newsdesk, Washington, DC. Courtesy of the Harvey Richards Media Archive.

Eden, B. L. (n.d.). Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the farmworkers’ 340 mile march according to “Harvesting Hope” [Map]. Arizona Geographic Alliance, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.

Lowe, E. (1966). César Chávez [Gelatin silver print]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Courtesy of University of California Merced Library, Copyright owned by the regents of the University of California, NPG.2010.10.

Unknown artist (1965). El Teatro Campesino, viva la huelga! [Mechanical reproduction on paper]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, 1995.50.50.

Camplis, F. (1967). Agustín Lira and Luis Valdez with senators Kennedy, Williams, and Yarborough at a rally in Washington DC. [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope, by Agustín Lira [Liner notes], 2016, p. 25. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Lewis, J. (1966). Agustín Lira [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope [Liner notes], 2016, p. 18. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Unknown artist (1967). Teatro Campesino [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. This poster appropriates the artwork of Mexico’s most famous printmaker, José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913), 2007.3011.03.

Unknown artist (n.d.). "Do not buy grapes" picket sign [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope, by Agustín Lira [CD packaging], 2016, Disc tray. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Davies, D. J. (1967) Luis Valdez [Photograph]. In The best of Broadside 1962-1988: Anthems of the American underground from the pages of Broadside Magazine [Liner notes], 2000, p. 86. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40130.

Lewis, J. (1966). Agustín Lira [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope [Liner notes], 2016, p. 18. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Krug, P. (1965). Information about "The migrant’s song" [Liner notes excerpt]. In Broadside ballads, vol. 4: The time will come and other songs from Broadside Magazine [Liner notes], 1967, p.5. Broadside Records, New York, NY, FW05306.

Krug, P. (1965). The migrant’s song [Sheet music]. In Broadside ballads, vol. 4: The time will come and other songs from Broadside Magazine [Liner notes], 1967, p.5. Broadside Records, New York, NY, FW05306.

Unknown artist (n.d.). El Teatro Campesino, Luis Valdez, director [Illustration]. In Broadside ballads, vol. 4: The time will come and other songs from Broadside Magazine [Liner notes], 1967, p.5. Broadside Records. New York, NY, FW05306.

Sheehy, D. (2016). Trío alma [Photograph]. In Songs of struggle and hope, by Agustín Lira [Liner notes], p. 10. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40567.

Jeffrey, J. (2008). Luis Valdez [Photograph]. In Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by Wikimedia User Xicanx.

* Audio, video, and images listed in order of appearance in slideshow