Athletes in Temporary Employment as Agricultural Manpower 1960s student instead of migrant program.
Lest we forget our history.
Local newspapers across the country showcased their local A-TEAM with pride as they left for the summer. of Waterloo, Iowa, for instance, ran a photo of beaming, bespectacled but scrawny boys boarding a bus for Salinas, where strawberries and asparagus awaited their smooth hands. “A teacher-coach from [the nearby town of] Cresco will serve as adviser to all 31,” students, the reassured its readers.
Despite skepticism,Wirtz’s scheme seemed to work at first: About 18,100 teenagers signed up to join the A-TEAM. But only about 3,300 of them ever got to pick crops.
In California’s Salinas Valley, 200 teenagers from New Mexico, Kansas and Wyoming quit after just two weeks on the job due to working and living conditions. The students dropped out because the conditions were so atrocious, and the growers weren’t able to mask that up.
We worked three days and all of us are broke,” the Associated Press quoted one teen as saying. Students elsewhere staged strikes. At the end, the A-TEAM was considered a giant failure and was never tried again.
History teaches us lessons if we would just pay attention.
Chris Edwards Napa 2-22-19