Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Pedro Del Real was born on October 30, 1927, in Zacatecas, México, to a family of farmers; in 1952, he enlisted in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked in California, Montana, and Texas; his primary duties included picking cotton, peaches, strawberries, and tomatoes; he continued working with the program until 1961; a year later, in 1962, he was able to emigrate to the United States, and he slowly brought the rest of his family with him.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Del Real describes how he initially heard of the Bracero Program through word of mouth; in 1952, when he began the enrollment process, he was already married and had children; he went through contracting centers in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and Empalme, Sonora; there were huge crowds of people at these centers, which proved to be problematic due to the long waiting periods; he explains the procedures he underwent, including the medical exams and the delousing process; furthermore, he describes the delousing procedures as discriminatory; as a bracero, he was able to obtain eight working contracts, which took him to California three times, Montana once, and Texas four times; he details the various types of work he performed in each location, the wages he earned, and contract amendments and extensions; in addition, he describes his daily routine, the housing and living conditions, the food, trips into town for supplies, and what he did in his spare time; he continued working as a bracero until 1961; the following year, he obtained a visa and came to the United States; over time, he was able to make arrangements for the rest of his family to emigrate as well.
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Interview with Pedro Del Real by Mireya Loza, 2005, "Interview no. 1103," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.