Signing of the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement

During World War II, workers in North America were in short supply as the US labor force supported the war effort. On August 4, 1942, the US and Mexican governments signed the Mexican Farm Labor Program Agreement, to legalize and control Mexican farm workers along the border.  Known as the “Bracero [manual laborer] Program”, it stipulated a minimum wage of 30 cents per hour and humane treatment with adequate shelter, food, and sanitation. US agents went to Mexico to recruit workers.  The program managed the inflow of workers into the US, and continued through 1964.

Happy Birthday to Isabel Allende

Happy Birthday to award winning novelist and political activist Isabel Allende, born in Lima, Peru on August 2, 1942.  Her father was a Chilean diplomat and her uncle was former Chilean President, Salvador Allende.  Salvador Allende was assassinated in a coup widely believed to be engineered by the CIA.  Isabel, then a journalist, and her family fled to Venezuela, where she began writing her novels.  Her stories include “The House of the Spirits”, “Eva Luna”, and “Of Love and Shadows”.  “The House of the Spirits” is the story of the successive generations of a Latino family, of their loves, tragedies, and political intrigue. This novel was released as a film in the US in 1994.  Please see October 17, 1993 for more on this film.  (Image from The Isabel Allende Foundation)

Happy Birthday to Jerry Garcia, Rock Star

August 1, 1942 is the birthday of musician Jerry Garcia, a member of the iconic North American band, The Grateful Dead.   Garcia was the son of a Spanish ballroom jazz musician, and was born in San Francisco, California.  Garcia had a complicated life, with family tragedy and struggles with drug addiction, haloed by brilliant and ground breaking talent. The Grateful Dead became one of rock and roll’s longest playing and most successful bands, embodying the 60’s counterculture movement. Fans still honor him with Jerry Day, an annual celebration of Garcia’s life and music that started in 2002 in San Francisco (where else?).  A tribute to Garcia can also be found on supermarket shelves throughout America: Ben & Jerry named their popular “Cherry Garcia” ice cream for him. (Image of Jerry Garcia commemorative print from Grateful Dead site)