Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Ramírez was born on August 27, 1939, in Tizapotla, Morelos, México; at an early age, he began working on the farm with his family; he worked as a bracero from 1960 to 1962 in Arizona and California; there he picked cotton and cut lettuce.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Ramírez recalls growing up in Tizapotla, Morelos, México, and working from an early age on a farm; he remembers attending school to the third grade; later, he relates how he heard about the Bracero Program from men who went to the United States during the first years of the program; he joined the program in 1960, and describes the hiring process he went through in Empalme, Sonora, México; additionally, he details discrimination braceros suffered in Empalme and in the U.S.; he highlights how they were kicked out of church services, and how priest set up mass in Spanish for them; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona and California until 1962; he describes that during this time he picked cotton and cut lettuce; he expresses what daily life was like for him in the camps, and the work he had to perform; after the program was terminated, he states that he returned to the U.S. in 1973 as an undocumented worker; he explains how he crossed the border, and the work he did in Chicago; in 1980, he relates that he returned to México and decided not to go back to the U.S.
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Interview with José Ramírez Solano by Violeta Domínguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1056," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.