Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Nereo Heredia was born on May 12, 1924, in Villa Escobedo, Chihuahua, México; he was the fifth of nine brothers; his father owned livestock and a number of ranches; he learned how to work on a ranch and care for the animals from his father; sometime later, he became a bracero and worked picking cotton in New Mexico and Texas and cleaning sugar beet fields in Colorado.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Heredia vividly describes what his life was like growing up in Villa Escobedo, Chihuahua, México; the first time he signed up to work as a bracero was in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México; there were no physical exams of any kind, in fact, all he had to do was sign a paper; he went to work in the cotton fields of La Mesa, New Mexico; the second time he signed up for a contract was out of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, where he went through a stringent hiring process; from there, he was sent to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, where he underwent medical examinations; he relates what the trip was like from Chihuahua to his final destination in Pecos, Texas; in addition, he goes on to explain what the housing was like, their daily activities, their wages, methods of payment, and how many hours they worked a day; he remembers how difficult it was for him to leave his family every time he renewed his contract; while he was working in New Mexico, he received news that one of his daughters had passed away; he immediately went home to mourn his daughter’s passing, and he decided not to leave his family anymore.
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Interview with Nereo Heredia L. by Laureano Martinez, 2003, "Interview no. 1132," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.