15 marchers. They wore the red and blue GI Forum caps and one of them carried the Forum’s banner. Dr. Garcia said that members will join the marchers at different points all the way to Austin. So into Corpus Christi, the column lengthening, were borne the American flag, the red, white, and black flag of the National Farm Workers Assn., the GI Forum flag; Navarro going on before with the Christian and American flags and the cross. Simon Calvillo of Rio Grande City recalled the incident near Kingsville where the column was threatened by a speeding car. “We were marching along on a long, hot day,” he said. “This guy moved his car as far as he could to the edge of the highway at 60 or 70 miles an hour.” The marchers faded back from the road as the car sped by. “If it kills us it doesn’t matter. The march will still continue,” Calvillo said. Carlos Guerra, a government student at Texas A&M, who had organized about 30 students and faculty members into support for the marchers as they passed through Kingsville, said some of the Latin students at the college talk lightly of “brown power.” Or they call out “Venceremos!” the Spanish for we shall overcome. Steelworkers, teamsters from San Antonio, electrical workers, began to join the march. A single file of Corpus union people marched to a rally point in the edge of town to greet the marchers there. Nine Mexican-American workers, six in hardhats, stood in a .row at the gate to the General Export Iron and Metal Co., a few of them waving as the marchers passed. The speakers for the welcoming rally stood above the crowd. City councilman P. Jiminez, speaking for Mayor Maclver Furman, who Jimenez said had to be out of the state, congratulated the marchers “for what you are doing” and wished them luck. City councilman Pat Dunne recited this verse: “I tried to find my soul/But my soul I could not see “I tried to find my God/But ‘my God eluded me “I tried to find my brother /And then I found all three.” Nelson spoke briefly; he said they would win the battle, and the sleeping MexicanAmerican giant would never sleep again. He is strong in the marchers’ affections, and they cheered him. Rev. Navarro ‘said Nelson was “the leader,” while the two clergymen are co-directors of the march. Navarro spoke of “these humble people with humble hearts, yet the salt of the earth,” who were marching for their rights. Roy Evans, state AFL-CIO secretarytreasurer, said that in spite of Birchers who want to kill the movement and think a minimum wage is “communistic or socialistic,” and despite others who oppose it underground, they would succeed. Father Gonzales began by singing a variation of a Mexican song. Nelson had led the campesinos in simple language, and they were all leaders, the Father said. “Together we will go to the Capitol. Don’t be chicken!” he exclaimed Moses Leroy, Houston, speaking for the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, said the two ethnic minori ties in Texas had never been so united and would work together to help not only poor members of minorities but poor Anglos as well. “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened in a generation. It is a tragedy that we live in a state with the resources we have, in a Great Society that our great leader Lyndon Johnson has advocated, and we make less than $1.25 an hour. It’s pathetic.” Nelson put in that a farm worker had figured out that “LBJ” has a special meaning, “Latins’ Battle for Justice.” Dr. Garcia and his sister spoke briefly. Al Gonzales, who defeated Rep. Tony Bonilla for a Democratic nomination to the House of Representatives this spring, was also on hand. The Garcias backed Gonzalez against Bonilla; .the influential Bonillas in Corpus Christi had told march planners that they would help the marchers outside of Corpus, but would not work with Dr. Garcia in Corpus. Thus the march had begun to run afoul of local factional politics. ON THE WAY toward the steelworkers’ hall, where a stop for soda water was scheduled, Nelson spoke of his troubles back in Rio Grande City. He said Margil Sanchez had been excluded from a meeting of the union there on instructions from Delano, Cal., because Sanchez had not signed a union card and was not a farm worker. He said he knows of only one farm worker who is with Sanchez’ new union. As Nelson sees it, Sanchez wanted to control the farm union “absolutely,” even after 234-1 and 101-3 votes to affiliate with Cesar Chavez’ union in Delano. There had been a short story on the AP wire that Nelson recently had stood up some groups he was supposed to speak to On the March with 11.25′ and had left a note for Bill Darby, executive secretary of the building trades council in Corpus, saying he was going back to California ; somebody else could be the workhorse. Nelson said he has been working without a holiday since September, 1965, in Delano, but had finally arranged for two days off in Corpus. He said a labor official arranged two or three speeches for him during that two days without asking him about it, and he consented to make them; but when he got to Corpus he learned that even some more speeches had been scheduled. “It was just too much,” Nelson said. “I just sort of got disgusted. This kind of thing gets to you. I haven’t taken my clothes to the cleaners in a year. . . . Continuous work, no rest, living in poverty.” But Nelson reconsidered and stayed on. He will continue to do so, he said, if he can have a couple of months off a year to do some writing. Stanley Woods of Houston was on hand at the steelworkers’ hall and walked with Evans at the forward part of the column through the city to the cathedral. Woods, of course, ran against Connally and lost three-to-one this spring. Evans, speaking of the rally at the Capitol steps Sept. 5, said with a smile, “Of course, we expect Governor Connally and Lt. Gov. Smith and Speaker Barnes to welcome us with open arms and immediately accede to our modest demands.” There is “no way” the movement can be stopped now, he said, despite all attempts to smother it. The reception along the streets into the downtown was quiet and mild. At some junctures there were small crowds who cheered; much more usually a few passersby watched from the sidewalks and corners. Corpus Christi was not turned out for the march of the melon pickers. The column of marchers, however, had stretched out until it was several blocks long. THE BEAUTIFUL Cathedral of Corpus Christi was about half filled for the services to be conducted for the marchers by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Drury, Bishop of Corpus Christi. The Bishop of Brownsville had already given the marchers a friendly, if technically neutral blessing; Bishop Drury was to give them a total endorsement. In San Antonio the Archbishop, Robert E. Lucey, is thought likely to be even yet more strongly with the marchers. The response of the reputedly less liberal Bishop of Austin, however, is a subject of speculation among some of the planners of the march. Bishop Drury told the marchers they had trod on foot hundreds of miles down open and sunbaked roads to bring the plight of their fellow workers to public attention. “You have our complete sympathy for your cause, and we shall help in every way we possibly can,” he said. He called on responsible agencies and governments to help, also. The income of farm workers becomes sufficient only when wives and children bend their back in the fields with their men, he said. He likened the march to Jesus’ to Calvary and said that in Austin, “where August 5, 1966 5
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