Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Heriberto Martínez was born on August 22, 1929, in Venustiano Carranza, Durango, México; he was the second of three brothers; at age seven, he worked sowing beans, chili, corn, and cutting wood; at the age of fifteen, he worked loading trains; in 1953, he became a bracero and worked in California, Missouri, Montana, and Texas; he picked carrots, cotton, lemons, and sugar until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Martínez recalls growing up in Francisco I. Madero, Durango, México; he remembers finding out about the Bracero Program in 1953; as a bracero, he worked in California, Missouri, Montana, and Texas; he recounts how he enlisted in the program and the requirements he needed to fulfill; additionally, he describes several trips he made to contracting centers in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and Jalisco, México; he also details his time at Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, and the medical test he had to endure; furthermore, he describes the daily activities he performed in the field, how the work was conducted, the different wages braceros were paid, and the methods of payment; he also discusses what their housing was like, how he saved money, what they did during weekends, and how braceros played dominoes, cards and dice; moreover, he talks about his life after being a bracero, why he is proud to have been one, and how it changed his and his family’s life.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Heriberto Martínez Díaz by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1011," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.