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  • Use your mouse to rotate the Short-Handled Hoe by clicking and dragging either right or left.  Click on the + to zoom in and on the - to zoom out.

    Short-handled Hoe QTVR

  • What is the most important thing that teenagers should take away from an exhibit including the short-handled hoe?

  • Has the short-handled hoe been on exhibit?

  • This document details the condition of the blade and handle of the hoe when it was received by NMAH.

    Object Condition Report

  • Once the Chavez family officially gave the short-handled hoe to NMAH, curator William L. Bird wrote a memo acknowledging the circumstances of that gift.

    Acknowledgement of Gift

  • The short-handled hoe was a gift from Rita Chavez Medina, but the transaction was made by her son, Rudolph Medina.  In this memo, curator Harry Rubenstein further explains the circumstances of the gift and how the Chavez's presented the hoe to Secretary I. Michael Heyman.

    Memo on Chavez Hoe

  • Having seen Cesar E. Chavez's union jacket included in a traveling exhibition, America's Smithsonian, along with other national treasures, the Chavez family was moved to donate a short-handled hoe. In this handwritten memo, drafted by Rudolph  Medina and signed by other members of the family, explains that the hoe donated to NMAH was first used by Cesar Chavez's father, Librado Hernendez Chavez.

    Handwritten Deed of Gift

  • This memo officially marks the short-handled hoe as part of the National Museum of American History's collections.

    Accession Memorandum

  • How did this hoe end up in the collection?

  • Does the short-handled hoe mean different things to different people?

  • Beginning in 1972 lawyers representing farm workers petitioned the California Industrial Safety Board to prohibit the use of the short-handled hoe. Initially the Board rejected the workers' claims. Finally, the plaintiffs appealed the case to the California Supreme Court, which declared in April 1975 that the short-handled hoe was "an unsafe hand tool" that was banned by California law.

    An "Unsafe Hand Tool": The California Supreme Court Decision

  • In 1972 Maurice "Mo" Jourdane, a young staff attorney for the California Rural Legal Assistance organization, petitioned the California Division of Industrial Safety for the prohibition of the short-handled hoe. He gathered testimonies from farm workers and doctors to illustrate the physical dangers of the hoe. The author of this statement, Jesus Serrano, lived in the Salinas Valley of California for most of his life. Here, he explains that growers like the short-handled hoe because it gave them more control and allowed them to see when they were resting.

    "I can no longer bend over:" A Farm worker Testifies

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