Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Heriberto Cortez was born in San Isidro, Oaxaca, México; in his childhood, he worked planting beans, corn, and peanuts; at the age of seventeen, he moved to Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México; in 1957, he joined the Bracero Program; he worked in Arkansas, Minnesota, and Texas picking apples, peppers, cotton, cucumbers, and watermelon; additionally, he labored in cattle ranches.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Cortez recalls growing up in San Isidro, Oaxaca, México; he relates how he worked planting beans, corn, and peanuts as a child, and, at age seventeen, moved to Oaxaca de Júarez, Oaxaca, México; additionally, he remembers being advised by a friend to travel to Mexico City, México to join the Bracero Program; he worked as a bracero from 1957 to 1960 in Arkansas, Minnesota, and Texas; there, he picking apples, peppers, cotton, cucumbers, and watermelons; he describes his experience at the bracero contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, and the legal requirements he needed to fulfill for the program; furthermore, he details his trip to the United States-México border, his time at the reception center in Hidalgo, Texas, and the medical exams he went through; he explains the lengths of his contracts, and how he received extensions; moreover, he outlines daily life on the farms, what housing braceros had, the rules they had to follow, and how they organized cooking duties; he also states what they did during weekends, how they spent their money, and their visits to movie theaters; to conclude, he recounts what the benefits of having been a bracero were, how his life changed, and what he did after the program ended.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Heriberto Cortez Cortez by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no.1030," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.