Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Ramirez was born on September 20, 1945, in Villa Matamoros, Chihuahua, México; he has eleven brothers and sisters; his father, Adolfo Ramírez Bañuelos, enlisted in the bracero program in 1946; as a bracero, he worked in Colorado and Texas; when Manuel was eleven years old, he worked with his father in Texas, but he was eventually deported; in 1958, Adolfo became seriously ill as a result of his duties, and he was hospitalized; shortly thereafter, he was also deported.
Summary of Interview
Manuel Ramirez discusses his father, Adolfo Ramírez Bañuelos, and his perceptions of the United States that led to his decision to become a bracero; at the time, Adolfo was married and had five children; in 1946, he traveled to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, to enlist in the bracero program; he was then transported by train to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and then by caravan to the county coliseum in El Paso, Texas, where ranchers chose their workers; on one occasion, he was transferred by plane from El Paso to Colorado; Manuel goes on to describe the various difficulties and humiliations his father underwent with each contract, including being deloused; as a bracero, Adolfo worked in Colorado and Texas; when Manuel was eleven years old, he worked with his father in Ysleta, Texas, and was paid in cash, because he was undocumented; he was eventually deported and warned that the next time, he would be incarcerated; in 1958, while working in Ysleta, Adolfo had to clean out a room where a group of braceros had died the night before due to carbon monoxide poisoning; as a result he became seriously ill, and he was hospitalized; shortly thereafter, he was also deported.
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Interview with Manuel Ramirez by Selfa Chew, 2005, "Interview no. 1094," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.