Dolores Huerta and the Delano Grape Strike

¡Si Se Puede!

The Delano Grape Strike represents one of the most important labor movements in American history and demonstrates an intersection between the Civil Rights Movement and the movement initiated by the Mexican-American and Filipino-American communities. It is imperative to understand the Delano Grape Strike in the context of America labor, civil rights, and two groups cooperating to achieve a common goal. The contributions of Dolores Huerta, a powerful female activist, shaped much of the movement.


30 minutes (mini lesson)


Through primary and secondary source analysis and group collaboration, students will read and observe documents from the movement and understand the strike in the context of the American labor movement and the Civil Rights Movement focusing on the contributions of Dolores Huerta.  


Homework prior to the day’s lesson: 

Have students complete the following as an instruction to the day’s lesson. To begin the lesson, discuss student reactions to the questions that accompany the video.  

  • The students will be watching part of the introduction chapter to the 4th video of PBS’s Asian in America entitled Generation Rising. For a reference to this video please see this. This will give them background on the strike. Watch from 2:00 to 11:30 as homework.
  • Here are the questions students will answer at home before discussing as a class: 
  1. What is AWOC? For what were they trying to advocate? 
  2. What are the origins of the Delano Grape Strike? 
  3. What groups were part of the United Farm Workers
  4. What led to the success of the strike? 
  5. How was the Grape Strike part of the Civil Rights Movement?
  • Discuss with the students the challenges of organizing a strike. Why might the workers resist a strike? Why might some support it? 
    • Some students might identify that a strike means individuals are not getting paid so financially a strike is difficult to commit to. 
    • Some students might identify that it is difficult to get the non-strikers to commit to boycotting grapes to support a cause that might not necessarily be their own fight. 

Do Now: 8-10 minutes

  • Begin with a brief discussion of the homework.
  • Have the students watch the trailer to “Dolores”. It introduces the idea that Dolores Huerta has been omitted from history. It asks why women of color are eliminated from history. 
    • Consider asking students why we remember some people and others are left out of our history books. 

Lesson: 20 minutes 

Setup: When students enter the classroom they will notice large posters of Dolores Huerta. On the board will be written: Who is Dolores Huerta?  Each group needs highlighters and Post-It notes.

Jigsaw Activity: Teacher divides students into groups of 3 people. Among the group, students will decide who will be the scribe, who will speak for the group, and who will post the Post-Its (when the time comes)

  • The introduction video should have offered students background information on the Delano Grape Strike and its key figures: Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, and Dolores Huerta. The main activity requires students to collaborate and examine reading sources. 

Sources to be analyzed: This will be done as a jigsaw with each group assigned a different document.

  • Students will be asked to look for the following content in each document.  
    • Who is Dolores Huerta? 
    • What are the origins of “ ¡Si Se Puede!
    • How did Dolores Huerta’s actions lead to change for the California farm workers?
  • Student groups of 3 students will be assigned one of the three documents. 
  • Groups will have highlighters and they will be asked to circle or underline evidence from the documents that might help to answer any of the above questions. 
  • Students will discuss within their groups how their document might answer the questions. 
  • After analyzing the assigned document, students will be encouraged to write answers to the questions on the Post-It notes. Individuals will be asked to choose their favorite quote by or about Dolores Huerta that demonstrates the power of her activism. Students will post the Post-Its to the board and surround the poster of Dolores Huerta. 
  • I will ask students to volunteer to come to the board and read the different Post-Its.
  • Since each individual student wrote down a favorite quote, the teacher will invite each student to go to the board and consider a quote on a Post-It that resonates with them as posted by a classmate. They can take the Post-It as a memento and inspirational quote. 
Assessment / Homework

How can you apply the phrase “¡Si Se Puede!” to today? Consider an issue today that seems insurmountable. Write a short paragraph and incorporate the ideas of Dolores Huerta’s motto to the situation. 

  • Students might choose gun control, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights and activism, among other topics.  
  • The purpose of this is to show that the legacy of Dolores Huerta lives on. Her message transcends time and can be applied to today. 
  • If available, students can write an answer to this on an online forum. If not, students can begin the class the next day with their answer. 
Future Research / Resources

United Farm Workers Website

Background information: Cesar Chavez Foundation

Resources on Dolores Huerta: 

PBS Video

Dolores Huerta Foundation: 


Collegeboard Curriculum: 

  • Unit 8.6 Explain how and why the civil rights movements developed and expanded from 1945 to 1960. 
  • Social categories, roles, and practices are created, maintained, challenged, and transformed throughout American history, shaping government policy, economic systems, culture, and the lives of citizens
  • 8.10 Explain how and why various groups responded to calls for the expansion of civil rights from 1960 to 1980

C3 Standards: 

  • D2.Civ.5.9-12. Evaluate citizens’ and institutions’ effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
  • ·   D2.Civ.14.9-12. Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
  • ·   D2.Civ.10.9-12. Analyze the impact and the appropriate roles of personal interests and perspectives on the application of civic virtues, democratic principles, constitutional rights, and human rights.
  • D2.His.3.9-12. Use questions generated about individuals and groups to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is shaped by the historical context
  • D2.His.8.9-12. Analyze how current interpretations of the past are limited by the extent to which available historical sources represent perspectives of people at the time.