Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Rodolfo Cruz was born near Mexico City, México; he was the oldest of six siblings; at an early age, he worked in agriculture; at the age of sixteen, he moved to Miacatlán, Morelos, México; he joined the Bracero Program in 1946, and worked in California, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming; there he picked apricots, broccoli, carrots, cotton, lemons, lettuce, onions, oranges, parsley, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Cruz recalls growing up near México City, México, and working in agriculture; he remembers moving to Miacatlán, Morelos, México at the age of sixteen, and joining the Bracero Program in 1946; as a bracero, he worked in California, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming picking apricots, broccoli, carrots, cotton, lemons, lettuce, onions, oranges, parsley, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes; he describes the hiring process he went through, his experiences at the contracting centers in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, and Empalme, Sonora, México, and the medical exams he endured; additionally, he details what daily life was like for braceros, what food and housing they were given, and the treatment they got from foremen; he relates an instance when he had problems with a Mexican-American foreman, and the discrimination the man had towards Mexicans; furthermore, he explains how he saved money for the future, and why many braceros did not do the same; he discusses what he did for recreation, and how he liked traveling during weekends; moreover, he states that being a bracero was a positive experience for him, and that it helped him buy his house and the land he still works on.
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Interview with Rodolfo Cruz Figueroa by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1031," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.