Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jesus Tellez Sanchez was born on September 20, 1934, in Villa López, Chihuahua, México; his father, Melesio Téllez Talamantes, worked in agriculture, and his mother, Luisa Sánchez, was a housewife; Jesús was the eighth born of his four sisters and five brothers; he was formally educated through the fourth grade; by the time he was fifteen years old, he was caring for animals and working the land; in 1953, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming; he continued working with the program until 1958.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Tellez recalls his hometown, going to school, and working with his father; in 1953, he was able to get on the list of eligible workers in order to enlist in the bracero program; he went through the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; from there he was transported by train to El Paso, Texas, where he was medically examined, which including being stripped and deloused; the men who fumigated the braceros, however, wore uniforms for protection as well as masks; while at the processing center in Rio Vista, he was fed eggs, beans, and tortillas; before leaving for his worksite, he was given a sack lunch consisting of two sandwiches and an orange; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming, and he continued working with the program until 1958; he goes on to detail housing, living arrangements, amenities, provisions, daily routines, work duties, payments, remittances, and recreational activities; his longest contract was in Pecos, Texas, where he worked with roughly five or six other braceros; they made their own food, and each paid about $5.00 per week for their share of food; a few years after becoming a bracero he married a woman from his hometown; he briefly describes their relationship, including correspondence while he was in the United States, and their six children; overall, he has positive memories of the program; one of his daughters later helped him become a legal resident.
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Interview with Jesus Tellez Sanchez by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1160," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.