Interviewee

Jesús Martínez

Interviewer

Selfa Chew

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Jesús Martínez was born on April 7, 1932, in Rincón de Romos, Aguascalientes, México; as a child, he helped his family with the farming duties, which took precedence over attending school; when he was twelve years old, his father died, which forced him to take on more family responsibilities, including helping to care for his younger siblings; in 1952, he enlisted in the bracero program in order to help support his family; as a bracero he worked with various crops in Arizona, California, Michigan, Nebraska, and Texas; in addition, he became the foreman for three separate farms; he continued working with the program until 1961, and he was ultimately able to arrange legal residency for his family.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Martínez describes his family and childhood; in 1952, he enlisted in the bracero program in order to help support his family; he provides a detailed explanation of the necessary documentation to become a bracero, including letters of recommendation; in addition, he describes the various contracting procedures, that consisted of long waiting lines, physical exams, collections of blood samples, and delousing, which was the most embarrassing for him; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona, California, Michigan, Nebraska, and Texas; he goes on to discuss wages, living and working conditions, treatment, provisions, remittances, and the range of relationships among employees and employers; eventually, he became the foreman for three separate farms, and he attended an agricultural school in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to learn more about cultivating crops; he continued working with the program until 1961, and he was ultimately able to arrange legal residency for his family; he concludes by expressing the importance of working hard and being honest.

Date of Interview

11-12-2005

Length of Interview

39 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1090

Transcript Number

No. 1090

Length of Transcript

20 pages

Interview Number

No. 1090

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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