Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Gamez was born on September 15, 1932; he came from a large family and would often help his father work in the fields; in 1949, at the age of seventeen, he came to the United States illegally in order to work; later that same year, he went through the hiring process for the Bracero Program; he continued working as a bracero for the next thirteen years.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Gamez briefly recalls his childhood and early adolescence; in 1949, when he was seventeen years old, he came into the United States illegally to work; it was while working illegally in Tornillo, Texas, that he learned of the Bracero Program; his boss at the time sent him to the processing center so that he could officially go through the hiring process and become a bracero; he continued working for that particular rancher over the next eight years; the rancher he worked for spoke Spanish, which made communicating much easier; he recalls celebrating birthdays and holidays by having special lunches out in the fields; oftentimes, he would use machines when working out in the fields, which was less work for him and more money as well; although he worked primarily in the cotton fields, he worked in various places throughout Texas and New Mexico; he went on to work as a bracero for a total of thirteen years, until 1962.
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Interview with Manuel Gamez by Myrna Parra-Mantilla, 2003, "Interview no. 1129," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.