Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Leticia Gutierrez’s mother, María Guadalupe Gutierrez, was born in Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, México; she was formally educated through the third grade; Leticia’s father, Francisco Gutierrez, was born in Lluvia de Oro, Chihuahua, México; he had five brothers and six sisters, but his father also had eight children with another woman; his mother was twenty-three years old and a teacher in the city when she was taken by his father who was sixty years old; although Francisco was never formally educated the way his older siblings were, his mother did tutor him at home; as a boy his parents moved to Mexicali, Baja California, México; during the sixties, he worked as a bracero in California picking pecans, tomatoes, and other fruits; he and María later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Leticia, and her mother, María, offer a detailed description of Francisco’s family and parents; he and two of his brothers traveled to Empalme, Sonora, México, in order to pick two thousand kilograms of cotton and get the cards they needed to enlist in the bracero program; they then returned to Mexicali, Baja California, where they were medically examined and fumigated; one of his brother-in-laws chose to return to México rather than endure being stripped and deloused; Francisco worked as a bracero in California picking pecans, tomatoes, and other fruits; he describes treatment, provisions, and free time, including trips into town; María mentions that they met just after he returned from a contract, and they married only a few months later; on his next contract she went with him, but she later stayed with his parents while he was gone; Leticia was their first born, and they had six more children; Leticia describes how difficult life was for her when her father was gone; he sent letters and money home every fifteen days; when María was pregnant for the third time, with twins, he returned from his last bracero contract just as they were born; both María and Francisco worked illegally for a time in the United States; in 1985, Leticia legally immigrated to the United States with her husband; by 2000, she was able to obtain legal documentation for her parents as well.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Francisco Gutiérrez, María Guadalupe, and Leticia Gutiérrez by Mónica Pelayo, 2006, "Interview no. 1152," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.