One of Orange County's most-important historical events is also one of its least-known—the 1936 Citrus War that pitted the county's establishment against Mexican orange pickers fighting for better wages, working conditions and the right to unionize. This being Orange County, the gabacho growers won the battle, brutally suppressing the strike with the help of the county's district attorney's office and sheriff's department and managing to largely wipe the strike away from the history books. But this being Orange County, the Mexicans are winning the war: they keep swarming into the county, and historians now consider the Citrus War a pivotal moment in Orange County history, an incident that let business leaders and politicians know that the county's Mexicans wouldn't take discrimination lightly anymore.
Learn more about the 1936 Citrus War this Saturday, as the Orange County Mexican-American Historical Society (OCMAHS) gives a presentation on the subject. Leading the discussion will be yours truly, as I draw from my "Gunkist Oranges" article on the Citrus War that you probably didn't read last year. OCMAHS will also have in stock the latest edition of its popular historical calendars depicting life for Orange County's Mexicans throughout the decades. And, this being a gathering of Mexicans, pan dulce will surely be involved.
The Orange County Mexican-American Historical Society meets at the Centro Cultural de Mexico, 310 W. 5th St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-5916; Sat., 10 a.m. Free. All ages.