A Force for Change

The Lane County History Museum hosts the Eugene Friends of Farm Workers exhibit 

Founded in 1972 by local activists Marion Phelan and Mel Kang, Eugene Friends of Farm Workers (EFFW) emerged from a blend of local activism and the national wave of advocacy in favor of migrant labor rights. EFFW fought for the dignity and rights of farm workers who were often subjected to deplorable working conditions. The current “Who is Lane County” exhibit at the Lane County History Museum is a testament to the legacy of EFFW. The interactive exhibit allows locals to experience how significant local activism was in Eugene and, specifically, how it contributed to a visit by Cesar Chavez himself. The EFFW’s was a crucial part of a broader movement that brought about significant changes in labor laws and working conditions, not just in Oregon but across the nation. This exhibit honors their legacy and highlights the continued relevance of their cause in today’s world. It reminds us that the fight for worker rights is ongoing and that the spirit of solidarity and activism from the 70s still resonates today. Former EFFW member and activist Kurt Wilcox says, “People have no idea that there were active migrant movements and boycotts or that there was a real active presence of farm workers right here in Eugene. Who living now knew that this ever happened?” 

Eugene Friends of Farm Workers Exhibit: A Radical Force for Change in the 1970s is at the Lane County History Museum, 740 W. 13th Avenue, 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday to Saturday.  FREE