NEW Immigration in WI web tiles (3)

The United Farmworker Movement in Wisconsin

Thanks for your interest in creating space for the important and complicated conversations we need to have about immigration in Wisconsin.

Jesus Salas is the descendant of a Mexican American family who first came to Wisconsin during the 1940s. He worked throughout his early school years as a migrant farmworker. Salas led protests, marches, and organizing efforts to secure rights and improve conditions for himself, his family, and the migrant community during the 1960s and 1970s. Salas has an undergraduate degree from the UW-Milwaukee, and an advanced degree from the UW-Madison. He has worked as teacher and scholar at MATC, UW-Madison, and UW-Milwaukee. Salas served as a member of the UW-System Board of Regents from 2003-07. 


In 1969, statewide grape boycotts reduced grape consumption in Wisconsin by 41%. Migrant workers in Wisconsin were part of a nationwide movement to gain union recognition for migrant labor, as well as legally establish a ‘living wage’ and improve work conditions. Jesus Salas is a third generation migrant farmworker. After high school in 1961 he returned to migrant labor camps to help organize. Throughout his college years, he spent summers helping to establish migrant child education programs and advocating for improvement of migrant working and living conditions on Wisconsin farms. By the mid 1960s, as the national United Farmworkers movement gained traction, Jesus was an important leader and organizer in Wisconsin. Jesus is a wonderful presenter who shares stories from his own experiences as a worker and leader of migrant laborers in Wisconsin.


Jesus Salas also shares stories in a talk called “Three Generations of Migrant Farmworkers.”

We want to help! Contact us today to get started!

  • We ask that events be free and open to the public. They must take place before November 1, 2019.
  • We will connect you with Jesus Salas so you can work with him to find a date and time that works.
  • You will be required to fill out an online form to secure your reservation by September 15, 2019.
  • The Wisconsin Humanities Council will pay Jesus Salas an honorarium; there will be no cost to your organization.
  • We ask that you credit the Wisconsin Humanities Council in your promotions.
  • Please aim for 20+ audience members. We can share resources to help with event promotion.
  • You will be required to fill out a Host Evaluation Form after the event.



« Back to Programs