Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
J. Ezequiel Acevedo was born on April 13, 1934, in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; he received very little formal education, because as the eldest of his siblings, he had to help support his family; his father often labored on the railroads in the United States under the bracero program; in the early fifties, José joined his father in the program; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona, California, Texas, and Utah, picking asparagus, blackberries, carrots, cotton, and oranges; in addition, he also irrigated crops and helped care for livestock; he later returned to the United States, and he ultimately became a citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Acevedo talks about his family and childhood; as a child, his father often labored on the railroads in the United States under the bracero program; whenever he was gone, José was left to care for his younger siblings; when he was roughly seventeen, he traveled to Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, with his father, to join the program; José describes the process he underwent while there, as well as how embarrassing the physical exams were, because he was stripped naked in front of everyone; moreover, upon arriving in the United States he endured similar assessments, and he was also deloused; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona, California, Texas, and Utah, picking asparagus, blackberries, carrots, cotton, and oranges; in addition, he irrigated crops and helped care for livestock; he goes on to detail the various worksites, labor populations, living conditions, provisions, treatment, payments, remittances, and recreational activities; more specifically, he explains one instance in which he was injured while working and the resulting difficulties he faced; he also mentions that representatives from the Mexican consul were often seen at the campsites in support of the braceros; additionally, he states that while working in Arizona, it was unbearably hot, and the construction of the barracks only made it worse; later, in 1962, he returned to the United States, with his wife [See also No. 1165] and children, and he ultimately became a citizen; his overall memories of the program are positive.
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Interview with J. Ezequiel Acevedo Perez by Anabel Mota, 2006, "Interview no. 1164," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.