César Chávez, Father John Coleman, Raymond Frost, United Farm Workers Union

Father Donald McDonnell’s Work With César Chávez

On April 4, 2018 Raymond Frost interviewed Father John Coleman, who had worked closely with Father Donald McDonnell a catholic priest and supporter of the civil rights of farm workers, at the Saint Francis Church in East Palo Alto. Father McDonnell had been friends with César Chávez, and visited various hospitals with him as a matter of goodwill.

Father McDonnell became licensed as a mortician because he wanted to offer funerals for hundreds of dollars to the poor rather than for thousands of dollars. One day, Father McDonnell and César Chávez worked together to remove a deceased individual from a hospital, in which César Chávez hurt his back. Another time Father McDonnell was stopped by a policeman while driving a body to a burial grounds. McDonnell did show proof that he was a licensed mortician, but the police contacted the states attorney to verify that he could in fact carry the body.

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