Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Gregorio Corrales was born in Mexico City, México; at the age of eight, he began cutting wood and sowing corn with his father; during his teenage years, he worked in construction and in factories; he joined the Bracero Program in 1951 to please his mother; as a bracero, he worked in California picking and harvesting grapes, lemons, oranges, peaches, carrots, lettuce and sugar beets.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Corrales recalls growing up in San Mateo, México, México, and how he worked from the age of eight cutting wood and sowing corn with his father; he remembers laboring in construction and factory work during his teenage years, and how his mother encouraged him to join the Bracero Program in 1951; additionally, he describes the hiring process at the contracting centers in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and Empalme, Sonora, México, and the procedure he went through at the reception center in El Centro, California; he details how ranchers picked braceros for work, the different activities he did on the farms, and the treatment he received from foremen; furthermore, he relates what their housing was like, the food they ate, and what braceros did on weekends; he also explains the hardships he had as a bracero, and the complaints many of them voiced; moreover, he concludes by stating the benefits of having been a bracero, how he used the money he earned to educate his family, and why he considers his experience a positive one.
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Interview with Gregorio Corrales Rojas by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1028," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.