Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ceferino Palomares was born on December 1, 1922, in Tampico, Tamaulipas, México; his father died when he was young, and his maternal grandfather cared for the family shortly thereafter; sometime later, his mother also passed away, and the family eventually drifted apart; in 1944, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program; as a bracero he worked in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; his duties included working in the fields, in a manufacturing plant, and on the railroads.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Palomares discusses his family and childhood; he initially learned about the Bracero Program through an advertisement in the local newspaper; his brother, Alfonso, encouraged him to enroll in the program; in 1944, they were both hired at the contracting center in their hometown of Tampico, Tamaulipas, México; consequently, Ceferino continued to go through the center in Tampico for all of his subsequent work contracts; his first contract took him to work on the railroads in Union City, Pennsylvania; when his contract ended six months later, he returned to México; the following year, in 1945, he went to work in a steel plant in Chicago, Illinois, that manufactured military armor; while working there, he had an accident that nearly cut off his left foot; he later decided to break his contract due to the horrible working conditions, and a cousin of his found him work in a laundry mat; in 1947, he worked in the lemon fields of Ohio; after the war was over, he came into the United States illegally to live with his brother in Chicago, and he was later deported; he goes on to comment on Mexican workers who come into the United States in search of a better life and how they are often taken advantage of.
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Interview with Ceferino Palomares by Violeta Dominguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1062," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.