Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Guzmán was born in Uriangato, Guanajuato, México; from an early age, he worked sowing corn, garbanzo beans, and wheat; as a teenager, he crossed into the United States to work as an undocumented worker; he was deported from the U.S., and returned to México where he worked in farms; in 1957, he joined the Bracero Program; he worked in Arizona and California picking grapefruits, green beans, lemons, lettuce, oranges, plums, strawberries, and tomatoes; he did these activities until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Guzmán recalls growing up in Uriangato, Guanajuato, México, and sowing corn, garbanzo beans, and wheat at an early age; he also remembers crossing into the United States as a teenager to labor as an undocumented worker; additionally, he discusses how he joined the Bracero Program in 1957, and what his trip to the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México was like; he describes the different steps he went through to sign a contract, what it was like at the reception center in El Centro, California, the medical exams he endured, and the way clauses in his contract were explained; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California picking grapefruits, green beans, lemons, lettuce, oranges, plums, strawberries, and tomatoes; furthermore, he relates his daily activities on the farms, and how they were treated by foremen and ranchers; he explains that he had different contracts, and that taxes were deducted from their wages; moreover, he recounts how braceros sent money back to México, the mail they received, what they did during weekends, and the common complaints they had; he concludes by expressing the difference between working as a bracero and being an undocumented worker.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Manuel Guzmán Núñez by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1036," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.