Grapes Of Wrath: The Forgotten Filipinos Who Led A Farmworker Revolution

Filipino farmworkers, including Larry Itliong (left), were the first to walk out of vineyards, prompting the Delano Grape Strike. They would join forces with Mexican laborers led by Cesar Chavez to form the United Farm Workers.  Farmworker Movement Documentation Project/University of California San Diego Library

Filipino farmworkers, including Larry Itliong (left), were the first to walk out of vineyards, prompting the Delano Grape Strike. They would join forces with Mexican laborers led by Cesar Chavez to form the United Farm Workers.

Farmworker Movement Documentation Project/University of California San Diego Library

These days, grapes in the grocery store don't seem that controversial. But 50 years ago, a historic workers' strike in the vineyards of California's Central Valley set in motion the most significant campaign in modern labor history: the Farmworker Movement.

The United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez are widely known: They first came to prominence as the face of a strike of grape pickers in the 1960s that prompted an international boycott of table grapes. But there's a part of that movement's history that's rarely told — and it traces back to Delano, Calif., a pretty typical hot, dry farm community.

In this town's unassuming corners, the true story of the Delano Grape Strike unfolded. There's a white stucco building on the edge of town where Chavez held his first hunger strike, and a high school auditorium where then-Sen. Bobby Kennedy spoke in support of the farmworkers . . .

Read more by Lisa Morehouse at NPR