Interviewer

Jackie Martínez

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Alberto Miguel Marcial came from a wealthy family and had five siblings; his father and grandfather worked in agriculture and owned a lot of land; when he was two years old, his father died; his grandfather later passed away as well, leaving his mother alone; Alberto went to school very briefly, and later as an adult he learned to read, write, and speak English; as a bracero, he worked in California and Colorado, picking beets, cantaloupe, onions, and potatoes; although he worked illegally for a time in the United States, he was able to obtain legal documentation and eventually become a citizen.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Marcial briefly mentions his family and childhood; his father and grandfather died, leaving his mother alone, but she later remarried; Alberto’s step-father worked as a bracero, and when he returned from a contract, Alberto decided to leave as well; he walked for two days to get a contract in Oaxaca, México; from there he was transported by train to Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, where he stayed for a few days; when leaving Oaxaca, people told him to buy cigarettes if he could, because they were scarce in the United States due to the war; he was able to sell them to soldiers and make some money; as a bracero, he worked in California and Colorado, picking beets, cantaloupe, onions, and potatoes; he goes on to detail various worksites, living arrangements, housing, amenities, provisions, friendships, daily routines, duties, treatment, recreational activities, and correspondence with family members; in addition, he mentions that for the first fifteen days of one of his contracts, he and other men ate at a restaurant every day until they had earned enough money to buy their own food; when his contract in Colorado ended he asked for a transfer to Fresno, California, so he could find his brother, which he eventually did; sometime after the program ended, he worked illegally in the United States, but he was caught by immigration officials; they helped him obtain legal documentation, and he ultimately became a U.S. citizen.

Date of Interview

5-26-2006

Length of Interview

43 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1154

Transcript Number

No. 1154

Length of Transcript

29 pages

Interview Number

No. 1154

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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