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.
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Interview with Herminio Estrada and Librada Estrada by Mónica Pelayo, 2006, "Interview no. 1149," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.