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The Texas Observer AUGUST 5, 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c EIGHT OF THE MARCHERS They Walked from the Valley to Corpus Christi The farm workers who are now walking from the lower Rio Grande Valley to the state Capitol in Austin, to ask the governor to call a special session to enact a $1.25 an hour minimum wage in Texas, have varied in number from about 15 to about 70, and they have been joined for short stretches along the road by local people. However, according to Eugene Nelson, the leader of the farm workers’ strike in . Rio Grande City, and Valdentar Garza, the farm workers’ union representative in the march, just eight Starr County farm .workers walked all the way, every day of the march, from Rio Grande City to Corpus Christi. In the motel where the marchers stayed overnight after walking into Corpus Christi in a line with perhaps 1,000 or 1,500 other people, the Observer talked with these eight people. Here is who they are and what they said. hour. Generally we work ten hours, five or six days; it depends. . . . I am marching for justice, so they can give me better payments.” Will he go all the way to Austin? “Well, I hope I walk all the way. It depends if God bless me.” day, two or three days a week ; at other times there is no work. Marching to Austin, he says, “I am doing it with my own heart, I have already wasted all my life in the fields, not getting minimum wages and insurance. I passed the hard way. I don’t want the new generation to struggle like I did. “I am not afraid to speak for the state minimum wages. A lot of young men are afraid to come out, and I am notI do not have much more life to live. “Everybody in Texas goes to California. The last thing we can do is to go to move the conscience of the government. If they don’t do what we ask, what else can we do? Maybe leave the state. I would have to start out years back, when I was young. There’s not going to be anything to do down there. All you can do,” he said with a laugh, “is plant a tree and live under the shade.” He was going to go home and see after his wife, and then return to the march. Jesus Laurel, 44, of Rio Grande City. Born at Los Laureles in Starr County, he has been working in the fields around Rio Grande City since he was 14. He is married and has a child. His two brothers and father are field workers, too, but his mother is too old to work now. “I been paid 50 cents, 60 cents, 70 an Reyes Alaniz, 62, of Garceno, about seven miles outside of Rio Grande City. A big, rough man who speaks almost no English, in other times he might have ridden with Pancho Villa. “I had a lot of freedom until I was 12. Then, at 13, I went to work. I have been working all my life.” He has eight brothers and sisters, six of whom are still living and working in the fields. His own three daughterg and two sons have married and work in the fields and on the ranches. He makes fences, rides horses after the cattle, picks melons, cleans fields with a hoe, for $4 a day, $5 a day, $6 a day ; he says the employers pay the least they can pay. He might work ten hours or a half Pictures by The Robstown Record Senora Elvira Lopez, 55, Rio Grande City. She lives at La Casita Farms in Starr County. She joined the strike against that farm, but still lives there; she explains that she lives on her own property. She has a son and two daughters; of one of the