Mónica Pelayo


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Herminio Estrada Tozcano was born on a ranch in Saloya, Jalisco, México; he was the second born, of his two sisters; his father died in the revolution when he was roughly three or four years old; he started going to school, but his teacher was killed during the Cristero War, which put an end to his formal education; when he was ten years old he began working in agriculture; Librada Estrada was born in Unión de Tula, Jalisco, México; she had three brothers and three sisters; in 1942, she and Herminio were married; later that same year, he enlisted in the bracero program and worked in Arizona and California until the program ended in 1964; they later moved to the United States and were ultimately able to legally and permanently settle there.

Summary of Interview

Librada talks about how she and Herminio met and courted for a year before getting married in 1942; later that same year, he traveled to Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, to enlist in the bracero program; his first contract took him to Phoenix, Arizona, where he picked lettuce for eighteen months; while in Arizona, he also worked in Aguila, Somerton, and Yuma; his contracts in California took him to work in Salinas and Yuba City; a friend of his wrote letters to Librada for him, because he did not know how to write; he sent home what little money he could; sometimes, he was only left $1.75 or $2.00 after deductions; if men complained, the foremen would remind them that México was close enough for them to return if they were dissatisfied; he explains that while in Yuma, he worked half a day on Saturday and was then given permission to go to México for the rest of the weekend; Librada moved to San Luis, Sonora, México, with their four children to be closer to Herminio while he worked in Yuma; while living in Sonora, they had seven more children, four of whom survived; Herminio continued working with the program until it ended in 1964, at which point he returned to Sonora and continued working in the fields there; Herminio and Librada later moved to the United States and were ultimately able to legally and permanently settle there.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

31 minutes

Listen to the Interview

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Tape Number

No. 1149

Transcript Number

No. 1149

Length of Transcript

33 pages

Interview Number

No. 1149

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.