Can you describe the jacket?

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(Magdalena Mieri) The jacket is a black nylon jacket and it belonged to Cesar Chavez and I think that's the most important thing and he actually wore towards the later years before his passing in 1993. It has the symbol of the United Farm Workers which is an eagle, black on a red background and on the other side has his name embroidered and, yes, the fact that he wore it I think is what makes this object so powerful, to know that he marched with it, that he was giving speeches and represent who it was as a person is just fascinating. It looks like a regular jacket, so really what gives it meaning is the fact that he owned it and he wore it. (offcamera interviewer) Were other members of the UFW wearing similar jacket? (Magdalena Mieri) Mostly, yeah, the higher management or managers had worn the jacket and I think are Arturo Rodriguez, the current representative of the UFW also has a jacket like that it was actually Richard Chavez, the one that designed the eagle, the symbol for the United Farm Workers back in 1962. Cesar Chavez actually suggested to have a symbol for the Union when they first created it and they decided to choose the symbol of an eagle because he felt that it could provide--encourage the workers and provide courage. Really, that's what the eagle represents. It's an Aztec eagle and Cesar asked Richard to design it and Richard was having a hard time doing it until he decided that if he were to square off the edges of the eagle, it would make it really easier for farm workers to copy it and put it in the flags that were all handmade and that they were used during the marches and boycotts.


Interview with Magdalena Mieri, National Museum of American History, May 31, 2006.