Interviewee

Juan Guerrero Nava

Interviewer

Verónica Cortez

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Juan Guerrero Nava was born on an hacienda in the municipality of Tocumbo, Michoacán, México; he had three sisters and three brothers; he was never formally educated; during the late 1950s, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Michigan, picking beets, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes; he completed a total of four contracts; while working as a bracero, he married and had four children; he later immigrated to the United States and was able to obtain legal documentation for himself and his family.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Guerrero explains that during the late 1950s, he enlisted in the bracero program; in order to get the necessary papers, he had to pick a given amount of cotton; he also talks about the various contracting centers he went through, including Monterrey, Nuevo León, Irapuato, Guanajuato and Empalme, Sonora, México; as part of the process, he was stripped, medically examined and deloused; he also went through centers in Calexico, California and McAllen, Texas; from these centers he was transported by bus to the worksites and given a bologna and cheese sandwich for the ride; although he did not really like it, he had no choice; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Michigan, picking beets, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes; he completed a total of four contracts; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, provisions, duties, routines, payments, deductions and contract lengths and renewals; while working as a bracero, he married and had four children, who were all under the age of five during his time with the program; he sent money home as often as he could, which in turn allowed the children to go to school; with the little money he kept, he bought a radio, but he could not find any Spanish stations; he later immigrated to the United States and was able to obtain legal documentation for himself and his family; overall, he has positive memories of his experiences as a bracero and would do it again if could.

Date of Interview

5-25-2006

Length of Interview

28 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1075

Transcript Number

No. 1075

Length of Transcript

24 pages

Interview Number

No. 1075

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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