Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Patricio Corrales was born in San Mateo Atenco, México, México; at the age of ten, he began cutting wood and sowing corn with his father; later, he worked in construction and in factories; due to his families economic situation, he joined the Bracero Program in 1952; he worked in California and Texas picking carrots, cotton, cucumbers, grapefruits, lemons, and oranges.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Corrales recalls growing up in San Mateo Atenco, México, México, and how he worked from the age of ten cutting wood and sowing corn with his father; he remembers laboring in construction and factory work, and how his family’s poverty pushed him to join the Bracero Program in 1952; additionally, he describes the hiring process at the contracting centers in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and Empalme, Sonora, México, and the hardships braceros endured there; he states that he worked in California and Texas picking carrots, cotton, cucumbers, grapefruits, lemons, and oranges; furthermore, he details what daily life was like on the farms, the kind of housing and furniture braceros had, the curfew they were forced to follow, and the treatment they received from foremen; he explains what they did during weekends, and how they sent money back to México; moreover, he discusses the shock he experienced living in a new country; he also outlines the differences he saw between Mexican and Mexican-Americans workers, and the benefits the United States economy received from the braceros; he concludes by presenting the positives of having worked as a bracero, and the way the experience helped him and his family.
Date of Interview
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Interview with Patricio Corrales Rojas by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1029," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.