César E. Chávez
History in Borrego Springs
In June 1966, César Chávez came to Borrego Springs to support local workers who wanted the National Farm Workers Association as their union. When they came to town, influential members of the community put pressure on the motels to get them out. After being told they could not camp at Christmas Circle Community Park in the center of town, César Chávez and union organizers camped at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground at Anza-Borrego Desert SP.
Wes Cater, supervising ranger of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park at the time, was approached and asked to remove César Chávez and the members of his group out of the campground. Wes Cater refused, saying they had every right to be there.
The Interpretive Panel Project
Between 2017 and 2018, more than 60 students from Borrego Springs High School, a Title I school, digital media and history classes collaborated with project leaders at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on an interpretive panel project highlighting historical César Chávez events in Borrego Springs. In 2019, the California State Parks’ Southern Service Center exhibit team expanded on the students’ inspiring work to create four bilingual interpretive panels for the Borrego Palm Canyon campground. The interpretive panels tell the events that occurred in 1966 that brought Chávez to Borrego Springs in an effort to help local farm workers, who wanted the National Farm Workers Association as their union, and the role Anza-Borrego Desert SP had in those events.
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