LeRoy Chatfield

LeRoy Chatfield

LeRoy Chatfield and Sam Kushner talking during an interview, Delano, ca. 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

Born in 1934 in Arbuckle, California, LeRoy Chatfield was raised in Colusa County until 1948, when he enrolled in a Catholic boarding school in Sacramento. In 1949, Chatfield entered a monastic teaching order in Napa Valley and later completed his religious training at St. Mary’s College in 1957. Chatfield later taught in Catholic high schools in Bakersfield and in San Francisco, and was a member of the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order of teachers, and was known as Brother Gilbert. From 1957 to 1965, he taught in Catholic high schools in San Francisco and Bakersfield.

He met César Chávez in 1963, and later, in October 1965, Chávez asked him to join the movement. Chatfield developed the Co-Op movement to provide services for the farmworkers and their families. He raised and administered funds. He coordinated the activities surrounding Chávez’s fast in 1968. He developed the Robert F. Kennedy Farm Workers Medical Plan. In 1972, he helped defeat Proposition 22 which would have prevented farmworkers from organizing unions.

LeRoy Chatfield during an interview, Delano, ca. 1966. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

LeRoy Chatfield, Bonnie Chatfield, Carolina Franco, Esther Uranday, and others picketing at a Perelli-Minetti grape field, Delano, 1967. Photo by Emmon Clarke.

Jerry Brown hired him for his gubernatorial campaign in 1974 and for five years Chatfield served in the Brown administration. Also, he created the Farmworker Movement Documentation Project, a digital repository of the movement’s history.

LeRoy Chatfield on The NFWA Strike Fund—1966 (voice synthesized with AI)


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