Media Resource

Adiós Amor: The Search for Maria Moreno

Filmmaker Laurie Coyle came across photographs of Maria Moreno while doing research on another activist in the farm worker movement: César Chávez. Though more and more was known about Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and United Farm Workers, little was known about this earlier figure. Moreno, whose father was a Mexican immigrant and whose mother was a Mescalero Apache, was herself mother to 12 children. Despite having only a second-grade education, she was elected by the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) to represent them at the AFL-CIO convention in 1961. Unlike the UFW and other agricultural unions, which often took a conservative stance on the U.S.-Mexico border, AWOC took a radically trans-nationalist approach, and its membership included farm workers of many nationalities.

Moreno was pushed out of the union in the early 1960s for her outspokenness. She began a two-decade career as a Pentecostal minister before dying of breast cancer in 1982. Coyle's film, funded in part by the NEH, is the first systematic attempt to tell her story to the U.S. public.

Classroom Connections

Learn more about Maria Moreno and the film Adiós Amor in this interview with director Laurie Coyle.

View additional short clips and extras from the film from PBS.

Learn about the later farm workers movement in the EDSITEment lesson "¡Sí se puede!": Chávez, Huerta, and the UFW.

Discussion Questions

  • Why do you think Maria Moreno's story has been less studied and shared than those of organizers like Chávez and Huerta?
  • What were some of the challenges Moreno faced as a farm worker and labor organizer?
  • How does Moreno's story and that of farm workers in the 1950 complicate the traditional narrative of post-war abundance?