Latino Activist-Luis Valdez

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Latino Activist-Luis Valdez

Early LifeLuis Valdez was born in Delano, CA in 1940. He grew up part of a migrant farming family, experiencing the injustices of Latinos as this period in time. In college, he began using his own personal experiences to write plays that addressed civil rights of Latinos at the time.


The children's book "Voces" which translates to voices in Spanish is a biography recounting the lives and achievments of three Latino individuals who held onto their dreams, listened to their own voice, and ultimately impacted society. The link below is to the author, Alma Flor Ada's website which contains more information about this book, and others in her Latino Biography series. The site also includes lesson plans and resources for teachers to use in the classroom.

Famous WorksPlays: The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa (1964), Bernabe (1970), La virgen de Tepeyac (1971)Films: Zoot Suit (1981) and La Bamba (1987)

United Farmworkers UnionAfter college, he joined Cesar Chavez with the UFU in working towards changing living conditions for migrant farmworkers. He then combined his passion for theater with his desire to create change and impact social issues by forming "El Teatro Campesino" (Farmworkers Theater). This group used a live stage and drama in order to promote civil rights and rally support among farmworkers. They traveled around in trucks and performed for workers in fields and churches to relay their message.

Later LifeAfterward, he founded the Centro Campesino Cultural in 1967, where he wrote some of his most famous plays and even went on to write and direct two award-winning films. He is still alive today and remains one of the most influential Chicano playwrights of his time.

Resource:Moore, T. Luis Valdez: Biography. Retrieved from

LegacyValdez is known as "The Godfather of Chicano Theater" and is a pioneer in the Chicano movement as well as an integral part of the migrant farmworkers movement from his work alongside Cesar Chavez. His work helped the Chicano movement in that students and Latinos everywhere began to use art and education in order to present their message of reform and social justice. He helped pave the way for many aspiring Latino writers, playwrights, and actors.

Luis Valdez Latino Activist


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