THE QUIET REVOLUTION by Sara & Robert F. Allen Harris


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You visualize, I hear you saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, that with a little patience, goodwill, and faith in the Coca-Cola Company above all, we shall overcome, right?"" Well, yup, that's right. Skeptical at first, Harris and Allen provide an ardent, effusive testimonial to the moral and economic uplift of pickers in the Coca-Cola Company's Minute Maid orange groves. It was accomplished over a nine-year period by the company-sponsored Agricultural Labor Project, Inc., which brought in consultants from the Human Resources Institute to help the downtrodden blacks and Chicanos in the fields. And boy, are they downtrodden. As Harris and Allen tell it, the ""yes-suh mister bossman"" ethos was deeply ingrained in the migrants who lived without sanitary facilities, indoor plumbing, medical attention, or child care. The first task was to find natural leaders among the passive, benumbed harvesters--like Saint Emanuela, a ""holy mother"" of the local tabernacle, and a spirited woman named Johnnie Lou Atherton. A great deal of time seems to be devoted to ""sharing,"" interfacing, and consciousness-raising between Coke execs and their field laborers, but soon enough a Child Development Center, a medical and dental clinic, a library, and federally-funded housing are in the works. . . . One enlightened capitalist even assures the workers that ""Chavez is not the devil he's cracked up to be."" The personal stories from the orange groves are heartrending and then some, but the book as a whole badly suffers from lack of critical perspective.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1978
Publisher: Rawson--dist. by Atheneum