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National Land for People Collection csf.1987.001
csf.1987.001  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
National Land for People, founded primarily by George Ballis and Berge Bulbulian, was a grassroots organization most active in California in the 1970s and 1980s, concerned with a number of environmental factors, most notably federal irrigation water use restrictions and the 160-acre limitation provision of the reclamation law as it applied to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, California. The National Land for People collection measures 25 linear feet and dates from 1850 to 1991, with the bulk from 1972 to 1983. The collection is comprised of legislation and legal papers, land sales documentation, correspondence, financial statements and contracts, reports, scholastic papers, historical and background information, press releases, printed material including newsletters, brochures, propaganda, and campaign materials, maps,charts, newspaper and magazine issues and clippings, notes, photographs, books and journals, ledgers, and other assorted materials pertaining to the history and activities of the organization and some of its founding members.
Background
National Land for People (NLP), founded under the leadership of George and Maia Ballis, Berge Bulbulian, and a handful of others, started in the 1950s under several different names, including Western Water Resources Council, before being incorporated as the National Land for People Foundation in 1974. George Ballis, a self-described "news reporter, news editor, community and union organizer, still photographer, film maker, organic gardener-farmer, shamanic guide, and teacher," from Faribault, Minnesota, lived in Chicago and San Francisco before accepting a position as labor editor for the Valley Labor Citizen newspaper in Fresno in 1953. In this position Ballis focused on covering the issues of farm labor and farm workers of the time. In 1965 Ballis worked as a part-time labor organizer for the AFL-CIO Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), which worked with the National Farm Workers Union, led by Cesar Chavez. It was also during this time that Ballis and Berge Bulbulian became active in community organizing and that Ballis became the office manager for B. F. Sisk, who was subsequently elected to the House of Representatives to represent Fresno. Ballis was soon put in contact with Paul Taylor in Berkeley, and they began organizing around the state's water and farm labor issues. They produced maps showing the land ownership trends in the new Westlands Water District, which included many farms of surprisingly large size, including one over 110,000 acres owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
Extent
25.0 Linear feet
Restrictions
The library can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claimants of literary property.
Availability
Collection is open for research.