Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Hipólito Burrola Ruiz was born on November 25, 1936, on a ranch in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; he is one of fourteen children; as a child, he would help his uncles in the fields; when he was twelve years old, he dropped out of school in order to begin working and helping his family financially; he was married in 1958, and the following year, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in New Mexico and Texas; he continued working with the program until 1961.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Burrola briefly discusses his family and childhood; in1958, he was married; the following year he enlisted in the bracero program at a contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; he mentions the long waiting lines, the required documents, examinations, and how callused hands were essential to obtaining a contract; from there, he was transported by train to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, where he underwent further assessments and was deloused; in addition, he describes the poor conditions at the center; as a bracero, he worked in Artesia, New Mexico and O Brien and Pecos, Texas; he recalls how some men had to be tricked into going to Pecos, Texas; no one wanted to go there, because they were paid poorly and the harvest was usually not very good; he goes on to discuss his living and working conditions, wages, provisions, and recreational activities; when his contracts ended, he was returned to Rio Vista by bus, given food, and left on his own to return to México; he continued working with the program until 1961; he concludes by reflecting on the program overall and what it meant to him to be a bracero.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Hipólito Burrola Ruiz by Anaís Acosta, 2005, "Interview no. 1095," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.