So you'd like to...

remember Colegio Cesar Chavez?

A guide by Andrew Parodi (Oregon, United States)
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What was Colegio César Chávez?

"Colegio Cesar Chavez" was a college-without-walls program that existed in Mt. Angel, Oregon (a small town about 50 miles south of Portland) from 1973 to 1983. After Mt. Angel College closed, Colegio took use of the facilities and named itself after the famous civil rights leader, César Chávez. It was founded by a man named Sonny Montes, who is featured in the recently released book Sonny Montes and Mexican American Activism in Oregon

Colegio Cesar Chavez, 1973-1983: A Chicano Struggle for Educational Self-Determination (Latino Communities: Emerging Voices - Political, Social, Cultural and Legal Issues) was published in 2000, and it says that Colegio was referred to by some as "the longest running death in history" because of the battles it faced to stay alive. The author, Carlos Maldonado, says that Colegio had a tortured existence because it was founded in a farming community that considered Cesar Chavez to be a trouble maker (see: The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement). In addition to that, there were a myriad of other issues facing Colegio.

Eventually, Colegio closed its doors after having graduated only about one class of students. But in its day it was the only four-year "Chicano" college in the nation, and it had correspondence students from as far away as New York and Canada. Carlos Maldonado says that Colegio occupies a unique niche in Chicano history because of its geographical location and its alternative educational model, and that it should be remembered for the opportunity it provides future college founders to learn what pitfalls to avoid.

Nosotros: The Hispanic People of Oregon contains a section called "Memories of Colegio César Chávez" that details the tortured history of the college, as well as providing some reflections by those who were involved in the founding of Colegio.


Colegio Cesar Chavez carries fond memories

[This is my letter to the editor of The Statesman Journal, the local paper in Salem, Oregon.]

July 16, 2004

Thank you for your article about the St. Joseph Shelter (June 13). I was delighted that you referred to Colegio Cesar Chavez as a previous occupant of the shelter’s current location.

My stepfather, who was Mexican-American, worked at Colegio Cesar Chavez, and my family and I lived on the grounds in the Victorian house behind the main campus building from 1980 to 1983. My memories of Colegio Cesar Chavez are the happiest and most vibrant of my childhood.

The walls were covered with larger-than-life Diego Rivera-style murals, and the students, the teachers and visitors all contributed to making Colegio an incredible place to live. I even had the honor of meeting Cesar Chavez.

Ever since my stepfather’s death in 2001, Colegio has come to be a symbol in my mind of him. In an attempt to remedy the virtual erasing of Colegio’s existence from local history, I have visited the grounds occasionally during the past few years to share some mementos and photos with the current employees and occupants.

Somewhere in my heart I will always be the little boy who lived at Colegio. And thanks to St. Joseph Shelter, I feel the spirit of Colegio Cesar Chavez lives on.

—Andrew Parodi, Gervais


Further Material on César Chávez

There are many books available on Amazon about César Chávez:

A Gringo Manual on How to Handle Mexicans (Hispanic Civil Rights)

Remembering Cesar: The Legacy of Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez: A Photoillustrated Biography (Read and Discover Photo-Illustrated Biographies)

Fight In The Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement

Cesar Chavez: A Brief Biography With Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture)

Cesar Chavez: A Triumph of Spirit (Oklahoma Western Biographies)

Cesar Chavez (Real-Life Reader Biography)

The Words of César Chávez

Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution

Cesar Chavez: Fighter in the Fields (High Five Reading)

Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (Hispanic Civil Rights)

An Elegy on the Death of Cesar Chavez

Eyewitness: A Filmmaker's Memoir of the Chicano Movement (Hispanic Civil Rights)

The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlan (Aztlan Anthology Series, V. 2)


Americanos: Latino Life in the United States - La Vida Latina en los Estados Unidos

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez

My Family [VHS]

Products mentioned include:
What was Colegio César Chávez?
1.  Sonny Montes and Mexican American Activism in Oregon  by Glenn Anthony May
$22.46 Used & New from: $0.94
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2.  Colegio Cesar Chavez, 1973-1983: A Chicano Struggle for Educational Self-Determination (Latino Communities: Emerging Voices - Political, Social, Cultural and Legal Issues)  by Carlos S. Maldonado
$120.51 Used & New from: $99.99
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3.  The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement  by mic McKenzie
$16.09 Used & New from: $0.80
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4.  Nosotros: The Hispanic People of Oregon  by Erasmo Gamboa
$19.64 Used & New from: $1.68
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Further Material on César Chávez
5.  A Gringo Manual on How to Handle Mexicans (Hispanic Civil Rights)  by José Angel Gutiérrez
$11.53 Used & New from: $0.62
3.7 out of 5 stars   (3)
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6.  Remembering Cesar: The Legacy of Cesar Chavez  by Ann McGregor
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5.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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7.  Cesar Chavez: A Photoillustrated Biography (Read and Discover Photo-Illustrated Biographies)  by Lucile Davis
$14.35 Used & New from: $0.01
2.5 out of 5 stars   (2)
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8.  Fight In The Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement  by mic McKenzie
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4.7 out of 5 stars   (15)
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9.  Cesar Chavez: A Brief Biography With Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture)  by Richard W. Etulain
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars   (2)
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10.  Cesar Chavez: A Triumph of Spirit (Oklahoma Western Biographies)  by Richard Griswold del Castillo
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11.  Cesar Chavez (Real-Life Reader Biography)  by Susan Zannos
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12.  The Words of César Chávez  by Cesar Chavez
$17.96 Used & New from: $9.50
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13.  Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution  by Peter Matthiessen
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5.0 out of 5 stars   (3)
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14.  Cesar Chavez: Fighter in the Fields (High Five Reading)  by J. L. Matthews
Used & New from: $7.62
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15.  Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (Hispanic Civil Rights)  by Francisco A. Rosales
$18.96 Used & New from: $7.65
4.0 out of 5 stars   (8) | 1 customer discussion
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16.  An Elegy on the Death of Cesar Chavez  by Rudolfo A. Anaya
$14.06 Used & New from: $0.01
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17.  Eyewitness: A Filmmaker's Memoir of the Chicano Movement (Hispanic Civil Rights)  by Jesús Salvador Trevińo
$14.06 Used & New from: $2.17
5.0 out of 5 stars   (3)
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18.  The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlan (Aztlan Anthology Series, V. 2)  by Rafael Pérez-Torres
Used & New from: $2.84
5.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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19.  Americanos: Latino Life in the United States - La Vida Latina en los Estados Unidos  by Monterrey Manuel
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4.7 out of 5 stars   (11)
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20.  Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez  by Kathleen Krull
$13.35 Used & New from: $0.98
4.8 out of 5 stars   (22)
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21.  My Family [VHS] [Closed-captioned] [Color] [Dolby] [NTSC]  VHS Jimmy Smits
$3.40 Used & New from: $0.94
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Andrew Parodi (Oregon, United States)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: Former resident of Colegio Cesar Chavez
Last updated: 10/8/11
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