Interviewer

Laureano Martínez

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Roberto Heynes was born on May 1, 1917, in Tepehuanes, Durango, México; he was the youngest of four siblings; their parents died when he was only a year old, and they were raised by their maternal relatives; during his teenage years, he worked in the mines; in spite of the fear instilled by rumors that Mexican workers could also be sent to fight in World War II, he enrolled in the Bracero Program in 1944; as a bracero, he worked in California and Illinois as a railroad line worker until 1956.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Heynes recalls his childhood and adolescence; sometime later, he had heard of the Bracero Program and the rumors that Mexican workers could also be sent to fight in World War II; in spite of this, he and a friend enrolled in the program in 1944; they signed their contracts in Querétaro, Querétaro, México; from there, they were transported by train to the border; as a bracero, he worked in California and Illinois as a railroad line worker, shoveling gravel on roadbeds and repairing the rails; he goes on to explain, what his first activities for the railroad company were, the training he underwent, his work hours, wages, methods of payment, contract amendments and extensions, the housing in hotel rooms, and the food; in addition, he comments that he was treated well by his American employers and the people in general; he concludes with fond memories of his experiences as a bracero and with the thought that the program should be reinstated.

Date of Interview

5-31-2003

Length of Interview

78 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1006

Transcript Number

No. 1006

Length of Transcript

55 pages

Interview Number

No. 1006

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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