thumbnail of Huelga!
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/504-696zw19w66).
Episode Description
A documentary program about farmworker strikes in California. The documentary details attempts to unionize, calls for better pay, the role of Cesar Chavez, and the effects of the movement on the lives of farmworkers. The title, "Huelga" is also the rallying cry of the farmworkers, meaning "Strike".
Program Description
"Huelga" (a Spanish word meaning "strike") documents the struggle for recognition - and survival - among Mexican and other migrant workers in Delano, Cal., in the San Joaquin Valley. The strike, which began in September 1965 against the area's 35 grape growers, has become "the longest, most important strike in agricultural history," with a few of the growers finally offering some compromises this year. The strike, however, goes on; its original demands basically unchanged - a minimum wage, unemployed compensation, the right of collective bargaining. The film, which has already won awards as three major festivals, has been described by Variety as "a very moving thing." Filmed in color, it follows the strike leaders from the genesis of the strike, depicting their efforts to enlist the workers' support, ranging their makeshift dwellings, and recording the arguments of both workers and farmers. Led by Caesar Chavez and Luis Valdez, the strikers continue their efforts to shut down the farms, exhorting workers through bullhorns and singing "We Shall Overcome." While the grape picking goes on. Then, on Christmas Eve, the strikers gain the support of students, unionist, and other sympathizers with their movement at a special rally during which "Silent Night" and "Solidarity Forever" are both songs of inspiration. One of the program's most poignant scenes involves a 38-year-old women who has just been fired after 24 years in the fields because she wouldn't sign an anti-union petition. Then, in March of 1966, the movement gains impetus with a march to the state capitol at Sacramento. As they walk along the highway wit flags, crosses, and songs, the strikers are unexpectedly joined by bands of other farm workers. "Walk along the 99 - with a flag! They'd have thought you were unbalanced a year ago," says Valdez, realizing: "We have a right to be here!" Meanwhile, a group of Delano citizens called Citizens for Facts is opposing the strikers. Their arguments are familiar. They contend that Chavez is a "communist puppet" who has been "trained back East someplace." One woman, seeing "cars from Illinois," notes that she "wrote down the license numbers." Others are more sympathetic, however. A community center is formed to feed and otherwise aid the strikers. Their spirit is buoyed up by such diversions as the Teatro Campesino, which performs skits under Valdez' direction. These skits satirize the landowner and his instrument the hated "scab." But there is more active opposition to the scab. At one point, the strikers try to stop a bus loaded with these imported workers. And, in the film's concluding scene, the strikers score a major victory as they persuade foreman and workers to leave their work and join the movement, after pleading "Are you going to sell out your race, the Mexican people?" "NET Journal - Huelga!" - is a presentation of National Educational Television, produced and written by Mark J. Harris of King Screen Productions. Director: Skeets McGrew. Narrator: Paul Herlinger. Edited by Dick Gilbert and Skeets McGrew.
Other Description
This program was digitized from faded 16mm film, hence the red hue. The Farmworker Movement Documentation Project, presented by UCSD Libraries, has also made the film available in six parts (from YouTube) on its website at subsection 9 of this page:
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Director: McGrew, Skeets
Editor: McGrew, Skeets
Editor: Gilbert, Dick
Narrator: Herlinger, Paul
Producing Organization: NET
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: 2332591-3-1 (MAVIS)
Format: Film: 16mm
Color: Color
Duration: 01:00:00

Identifier: cpb-aacip-504-696zw19w66.mp4 (mediainfo)
Format: video/mp4
Generation: Proxy
Duration: 00:58:07
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Huelga!,” 1968-02-12, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 26, 2021,
MLA: “Huelga!.” 1968-02-12. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 26, 2021. <>.
APA: Huelga!. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from