Azada de Mango Corto

A short Handled hoe, 1936 hoe. Original owner Librado Hernandez Chavez, (father of Cesar Estrada Chavez). The hoe has a metal blade welded to a metal neck and a wooden handle. The two are attached by a slot screw. The top edge of the blade is similar to the two curves at the top of a valentine hear. Blade recently sharpened.
The short-handled hoe brings back memories of back-breaking labor for generations of Mexican and Mexican American migrant workers who sustained California's booming agricultural economy. Since the late 1800s, its expansive fields of produce have relied on a cheap, mobile, and temporary workforce. The short-handled hoe required workers to bend painfully close to the ground to weed and thin crops. The state abolished the short-handled hoe in 1975, ruling it an occupational hazard after a seven-year legal battle. During this period of political mobilization, the predicament of the migrant farm worker became emblematic of the limited opportunities and the cycle of poverty that trapped many Mexican Americans. In 1966, when Mexican and Filipino American farm workers were brought together under the banner of the United Farm Workers of America, the struggle for labor rights was understood by its supporters as part of the much larger civil rights movement. It was not just important for Mexican Americans but also other low-paid workers. The hoe pictured here belonged to Librado Hernandez Chavez, father of civil rights leader and farm worker organizer, Cesar Estrada Chavez.
Object Name
Date made
Chavez, Librado Hernandes
Chavez, Cesar Estrada
Physical Description
brown (overall color)
metal (blade material)
wood (handle material)
overall: 16 in x 5 in; 40.64 cm x 12.7 cm
Place Made
United States: California, San Jose
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Labor Unions
Farmers and Ranchers
Migrant Workers
Mexican America
Government, Politics, and Reform
American Enterprise
See more items in
Political History: Political History, Labor History Collection
Mexican America
American Enterprise
The Early Sixties: American Culture
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Short Handled Hoe

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