ALBERTO MAGALLON | Bracero, Delegate, Citizen
Alberto Magallon first came to work in the California fields from Jalisco, Mexico, as a bracero in 1946. He went back and forth from Mexico, and for many years his family lived across the border. In 1966, his wife insisted on moving the family. She and their six children joined Alberto in the Salinas Valley. When the UFW came to Salinas a few years later, Magallon joined. He attended meetings and marches, served as a representative for his crew and a delegate to union conventions, and came to know Cesar Chavez. One year, Chavez asked Magallon if he had voted in the past election. Magallon said he couldn’t vote; he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. In this country, Chavez told him, we exert power through voting. If you’re not a citizen by the convention next year, don’t come back. Magallon became a citizen.
When Chavez’s caminata to publicize the upcoming elections came through Greenfield on July 30, 1975, the march went right past Magallon’s house. He stood outside to honor Chavez and the farmworkers union.