- Michelle Brattain
Galarza, Ernesto (07 August 1905–22 June 1984), scholar and union activist, was born in Jalcocotán in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. His parents, about whom few details are known, were farm workers. In 1911 Galarza went to the United States with his mother and two uncles to escape the dangerous conditions of the Madero revolution in Mexico. Galarza began his formal education in 1911 in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, and continued his schooling in Sacramento, where his family eventually settled. As a child, Galarza held a number of jobs, including positions as a messenger, drugstore clerk, court interpreter, and cannery and field worker, but with the aid of his uncle he was also able to continue his education. Even as a young boy Galarza became something of an activist. As he was fond of recalling in later years, he became a leader and negotiator for the adult workers in his Mexican community at age eight because he knew perhaps two dozen words of English. Galarza’s mother died when he was only twelve years old. Encouraged by his uncle, Galarza entered Occidental College in Los Angeles on scholarship in 1923....