Interviewer

Laureano Martínez

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Enrique Torres was born on July 15, 1929, in Santiago Papasquiaro, Durango, México; he was the second of six brothers; his father died when he was six years old; at an early age, he started working in agriculture; in 1952, he joined the Bracero Program, and worked in Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas; he picked carrots, green peppers, lemons, oranges, and tomatoes; he did these activities until 1959.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Torres grew up with his paternal relatives; he worked sowing beans and corn during his childhood; due to economic hardship and debts held by his family, he joined the Bracero Program in 1952; he worked in Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas; additionally, he describes how he found out about the program, and the hiring process he encountered at the processing center in Durango, Durango, México; at this center, he details the humiliation he experienced during the medical exams conducted by American doctors, and then he continues to outline his bus trip to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México; while at a bracero reception center in Texas, he signed a contract and went through the disinfection process; he narrates the daily activities of the braceros, their work distribution, their housing, and the food they prepared; furthermore, he relates how they were paid, their different contracts, and the treatment received from foremen; he remembers what the braceros did on weekends, and how prostitution was allowed in the camps; beyond these recollections, he explains how his life changed after being a bracero, why he decided to cross into the United States to become an undocumented worker in the 1970s, and why he believes the program should be reinstated.

Date of Interview

5-29-2003

Length of Interview

89 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1023

Transcript Number

No. 1023

Length of Transcript

57 pages

Interview Number

No. 1023

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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