Born in Jalcocotán, Nayarit, Mexico, Ernesto Galarza (1905–1984) was a civil rights and labor activist, a scholar, and a pioneer during the decades when Mexican Americans had few public advocates. When he was eight, he migrated to Sacramento, California, where he worked as a farm laborer. One of Stanford's first Chicano alumni, Galarza received an M.A. in 1929, and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1944. He returned to California where, during the 1950s, he joined the effort to create the first multiracial farm worker union, which set the foundation for the emergence of the United Farm Workers Union of the 1960s. His books most notably include the 1964 Merchants of Labor, on the exploitation of Mexican contract workers, and the 1971 Barrio Boy. In 1979, Dr. Galarza was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.