Interviewer

Laureano Martínez

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

José Vidaña was born on February 15, 1923, in Cuencamé, Durango, México; he was an only child; at the age of two, his father died; he worked in agriculture from age eight until he was twenty; in 1942, he enlisted in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked in Arkansas, California, Michigan, Texas, and Washington; he picked apples, cotton, grapes, pears, peas, pickles, potatoes, prunes, strawberries, and sugar beets; he did these activities until 1960.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Vidaña grew up with his mother after his father, a general in the Mexican Revolution, died; he remembers the Cristero Revolution, and explains why the conflict began; a bracero from 1942 to 1960, he worked in Arkansas, California, Michigan, Texas, and Washington; he describes the hiring process at the contracting center in Durango, Durango, México; additionally, he discusses the medical exams he endured, a train trip he took to the border, and his time at Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas; he recalls their arrival at a military camp in Washington state, their daily activities on a pea cannery, and their work on farms; furthermore, he states what kind of clothing they had, their housing, and the food they prepared; he also details the fears braceros had about World War II; moreover, he explains the good treatment they received from Americans during weekend outings, the relationship braceros had with Japanese workers, and visits from representatives of the Mexican consulate to their camps; he discusses feeling homesick, the benefits of being a bracero, his decision to stay in México, and his positive memories of the program.

Date of Interview

6-3-2003

Length of Interview

86 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1025

Transcript Number

No. 1025

Length of Transcript

68 pages

Interview Number

No. 1025

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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