Celebrating the Legacy: ‘A Song for Cesar’ Documentary Chronicles Latino Leader César Chávez

A new documentary titled “A Song for Cesar” will soon air on PBS, providing a unique and never-before-told story about César Chávez and the farmworkers movement. The documentary, produced by Abel Sánchez and Andrés Alegría, sheds light on the musicians and artists who dedicated their time, creativity, and reputation to peacefully advance Chávez’s movement for equality and justice for farmworkers in the United States. Notable figures such as Joan Baez, Maya Angelou, and Carlos Santana are featured in the production. The documentary will premiere nationally on Friday, September 29, at 10 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS app.

This documentary is part of the American Masters series, which aims to share the stories of political “thought leaders” through seven new documentaries on PBS. These documentaries explore the lives and legacies of influential figures such as Floyd Abrams, Bella Abzug, Jerry Brown, Max Roach, William F. Buckley Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The series seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the political landscape in the United States and the individuals who have shaped it.

“A Song for Cesar” delves into various aspects of Cesar Chavez’s life, including his childhood and final days, offering viewers previously untold revelations. The film features musical performances and interviews with actors, musicians, activists, and writers who have been involved in the farmworkers movement, including Dolores Huerta, Edward James Olmos, Graham Nash, Carlos Santana, Joan Baez, Cheech Marin, Taj Mahal, playwright Luis Valdez, and more.

The documentary highlights the crucial role of music and the arts in the success of the farmworker movement that Chavez helped establish. It explores the alliance formed between Chavez and peasant activists with musicians and artists, known as “La Causa,” which played a pivotal role in the struggle for social justice.

“American Masters” executive producer Michael Kantor emphasizes the importance of understanding the origins and accomplishments of thought leaders to gain context and nuance in today’s political arena. The film provides a deeper understanding of the social movement that seamlessly united social struggle and culture.

Produced by Latino Public Broadcasting, the acclaimed PBS documentary series VOCES showcases the best of Latino arts, culture, and history. Through this series, new and established filmmakers share powerful and illuminating stories that highlight the diverse experiences of Latin Americans. The VOCES series can be accessed on television, online, and through the PBS app.