Bill Esher

Bill Esher

Bill Esher working at the office of El Malcriado, Delano, 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

Bill Esher was originally from New York City. He had been editor of his high school paper, attended journalism school at Syracuse University on scholarship, and simultaneously worked at the daily Syracuse Post-Standard at night. By 1959, after two years in college, he drove to California. After reading Grapes of Wrath and listening to Ernest Lowe’s documentary program in KPFA on the current conditions of the farmworkers, he felt he needed to do something.

He joined the group Citizens for Farm Labor in San Francisco. There he met Wendy Goepel, who was working for Governor Brown’s Farm Worker Health Service. He relocated to the San Joaquin Valley after Wendy Goepel introduced him to Helen Chávez. Goepel later told him César Chávez was trying to start a newspaper and Esher volunteered for the position. He quickly became the editor of El Malcriado, the unofficial newspaper of the United Farm Workers, in 1965. He also helped organize workers near Fremont and Bakersfield, drove farmworkers to and from the fields, and provided them with inexpensive lunches.

Bill Esher posing for a portrait, 1967. Photo by Emmon Clarke.


Tom & Ethel Bradley Center
California State University, Northridge

18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330
Phone: (818) 677-1200 / Contact Us