Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Luz Maria Ayala was born in 1943, in [Michoacán] México; she had seventeen siblings, but nine of them passed away; her father was a bracero; he was never formally educated, and consequently, he did not know how to read or write; prior to enlisting in the bracero program, he worked with mules and sold cheese in México; as a bracero, he labored in the fields and on the railroads; Luz later married, and she eventually immigrated to the United States with her husband, during which time her father passed away.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Ayala talks about her father, and how prior to enlisting in the bracero program, he worked with mules and sold cheese in México; he went through the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México, where he waited up to nine months for a contract; while waiting, he and a group of men put up an overhead covering where they could sleep and have shade; as a bracero, he labored in the fields and on the railroads when she was a young girl; while he was gone, the family suffered greatly, because there was often no food or money; he returned home roughly every year, and her mother was pregnant just as often; many of the towns families were also left alone; Luz mentions that as a girl she could not even remember what her father looked like; she sobs at the recollection of so many of her childhood memories; on one occasion, they did not hear from him for over seven months; because he could not read or write, he had to wait until he arrived at the camp and found someone to write letters for him; overall, both he and the family underwent great difficulties; Luz later married, and she eventually immigrated to the United States with her husband, during which time her father passed away; moreover, she discusses a subsequent gathering for braceros in Stockton, California, where they composed a song that chronicles their struggles, which she sings as well; she goes on to relate several anecdotes about her life and work in Mexico.
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Interview with Luz Maria Ayala by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1070," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.