Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Pedro de Alba G. was born June 7, 1935, in Atotonilquillo, Jalisco, México, but he was raised in Acatlán de Juárez, Jalisco; his parents were campesinos, and he had two brothers and one half brother; Pedro was formally educated through the second grade; growing up, he helped care for animals; in 1955, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Texas, cleaning, pruning and picking carrots, cotton, lettuce and tomatoes; one of his brothers was also a bracero; in 1957, Pedro married and continued with the program for a few more years.
Summary of Interview
Mr. de Alba recalls that people went into town to recruit for the bracero program; his parents encouraged him to join, and in 1955, he enlisted; one of his brothers was also a bracero, and they worked together twice; Pedro went through contracting centers in Monterrey, Nuevo León and Empalme, Sonora, México; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Texas, cleaning, pruning and picking carrots, cotton, lettuce and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, correspondence and recreational activities, including trips into town and religious services; in Texas, the camps were completely isolated from the town, which once resulted in him and a friend getting lost; there was also a protest over pay that led to half of the camp leaving; he decided to stay, because he needed the work; in California, a few women also worked in the fields with the men; he also offers a detailed description of his various duties, including using the short hoe, which was extremely arduous; he once became very ill with fever and chills, and he spent eight days in the hospital; one of his employers even offered to help him arrange legal status, but he refused, which he later regretted; in 1957, he married and continued as a bracero for a few more years; additionally, he briefly mentions his life after the program.
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Interview with Pedro de Alba G. by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1073," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.