Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Carlos Sánchez Montoya was born on September 11, 1918, in Gómez Palacio, Durango, México; his family moved to Guadalupe Victoria, Durango, which is where he grew up; later as a teenager, his family moved to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; while living in Juárez, he began working in construction; he later worked as a bracero in New Mexico and Colorado from 1945 to 1963.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Sánchez recalls his childhood and early adolescence; he began helping his father work in the fields when he was fourteen years old; a severe draught at that time caused his family to move from Guadalupe Victoria, Durango, México, to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; while there, he began working in construction; he explains how he learned of the Bracero Program and the hiring process he went through at the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua; from there, he was taken to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, where he was medically examined; he describes what the living conditions on the farms were like, the kinds of food they cooked, what their hobbies were, and what they did on weekends and during their spare time; his work duties included picking cotton and lettuce, irrigating cotton fields, and cleaning sugar beet fields in New Mexico and Colorado; he also explains the different wages he earned and how he was able to extend his contract without having to leave the country; in addition, he concludes that the Bracero Program is what enabled him to obtain legal residency in the United States and ultimately citizenship.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Carlos Sánchez Montoya by Laureano Martinez, 2003, "Interview no. 1140," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.