Agricultural town in Kern County
, about 40 miles north of Bakersfield
While the area was inhabited by native Yokuts for hundreds of years, the town was founded by the Southern Pacific railroad in 1873, who named the stop there after the Secretary of the Interior, Columbus Delano. Located in the fertile Central Valley of California, Delano produces crops like almonds and table grapes. It is the latter that put Delano in the spotlight of U.S. history.
In 1965, organized Filipino fieldworkers struck at 8 farms, but needed the support of local organizers to prevent the mostly Mexican labor population from crossing the picket line. Cesar Chavez got the Chicano workers to support the strike, which soon spread to 30 farms. Grape growers at Schenley sprayed striking farmhands with agricultural pesticides to harass them. As a protest, Chavez led a march over 300 miles to the state capitol, Sacramento, bringing national attention to the labor struggles of farm workers in Delano and throughout California, and soon creating the nation's first agricultural worker's union, the UFW.
Delano was the birthplace of the longest labor strike in U.S. history, the United Farm Workers, the grape boycotts of the 1960s and 1970s, El Teatro Campesino, and award winning playwright and director Luis Valdez.