Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Vazquez was born in Santa Bárbara, Chihuahua, México, on October 23, 1928; when he was seven years old, he began helping his father work in the fields, and consequently he never received any formal education; in 1942, he and his brother went to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and crossed into the United States illegally, but he could not work because he was too young; later, in 1945, he became a bracero and worked in the cotton fields of Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Vazquez briefly recalls his childhood; in 1945, he was hired as a bracero, and taken to work in El Paso, Texas; the only requirement for him to work was his Mexican military I.D. card; he recalls that representative from the Mexican consulate approved the work contracts for the braceros, but they denied renewals for those who had already been contracted three or four times; because of this, he often had to return to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, in order to obtain new work permits; upon passing through the Stanton Bridge in El Paso, Texas, he and other braceros were often examined and deloused in front of everyone who happened to be passing by; from there they were transported by truck to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas; as a bracero, he worked in the cotton fields of Texas; it was while working as a bracero that he learned how to write his name; he recounts how his boss was killed and how the United States and Mexican governments worked together to find the murderer.
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Interview with Manuel Vazquez by Myrna Parra-Mantilla, 2003, "Interview no. 1143," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.