Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day

Title page of Cesar Chavez with letter from Geoge McGovern pasted in along with other clippingsIt is a fitting day to feature a very curious book in our collection. It is a copy of Jacques Levy's Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa, but one that has been transformed and re-titled "Journal of Protest" by Dr. George Margolis, professor of Pathology at the Dartmouth Medical School from 1963-1982. Margolis chose a book about someone he most admired to collect his own story of protest by pasting the book full of mementos of his fight for social justice.

Margolis was an advocate for diversifying the medical profession by actively recruiting minorities into the field. He also protested the Vietnam War and was co-founder of the New Hampshire chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, but he had a particular attraction to Chavez's movement to organize migrant farm labor.
Letter from Susan Drake, secretary to Cesar Chavez, to Dr. Margolis

The book is plastered with letters and news clippings from Margolis's rabble rousing as well as his personal reflections on his successes and failures. It is an odd example of a kind of cultural appropriation. He literally obscures the words of the book with his own memories, but simultaneously pays homage to Chavez--seemingly trying to meld their work into one. But, does his work blot out Chavez's work? Or, does Margolis see Chavez as a power so strong that he can support Margolis's own labors?

Letter from United Farm Workers to Margolis thanking him for donation to support strike against Gallo
To judge for yourself, ask for Rare R707.M37 1993.

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