Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ismael Osorio was born in June of 1923, in Chalcatongo de Hidalgo, Oaxaca, México; he went to school only through the sixth grade, because there were no secondary schools in his hometown; in 1944, he decided to begin the enrollment process for the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington, for a total of twelve years; he later emigrated to the United States, and he became a foreman for the Garing Company.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Osorio briefly discusses his childhood and adolescence; he went to school only through the sixth grade, because there were no secondary schools in his hometown; while searching for a school, he became aware of the bracero contracting center in México, Distrito Federal; in spite of the rumors he had heard that he might have to fight in the war as a bracero, he decided to begin the enrollment process in 1944; he initially began the procedures by paying to get his name on the county’s list of workers in Oaxaca, México; from there, he traveled to Ciudad México, and finally to Irapuato, Guanajuato, where he had to wait for four months before obtaining a contract; he was then transported to El Paso, Texas, where he underwent medical examinations and was deloused; his first contract took him to Olympia, Washington, and a year later he was sent to California to work for the Harding Produce Company; he goes on to explain his various jobs and how he carried them out, methods of payment, living conditions, and the overall treatment he received; in addition, he describes the hierarchical chain of command he encountered at the various companies he worked in throughout his twelve years as a bracero; he was ultimately able to emigrate to the United States, and he went on to work as a foreman for the Garing Company.
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Interview with Ismael Z. Nicolás Osorio by Lety Bocanegra, 2005, "Interview no. 1102," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.