Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
M. Belen Acevedo was born in 1941, in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; her mother was born in the United States, but she was raised in México; María’s father spent his childhood in the United States, but he later went to México with his brother; her parents met in México, and in due course, María was the fifth born of her nine sisters and three brothers; at the age of seventeen, she married; her husband had previously worked with the bracero program; in addition, several of her family members were also braceros; she later immigrated to the United States with her family, and she went on to labor in the fields of Anaheim, California, picking strawberries, for fourteen seasons.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Acevedo vividly describes her family and her parents in particular; she was formally educated through the fourth grade, but in spite of her desire to continue with school, she ultimately had to stay home to help her mother with household duties; when she was seventeen, she married José Ezequiel Acevedo Pérez [See also No. 1164]; she explains how they met, their courtship, and how he had worked in the United States with the bracero program prior to their nuptials; in addition, several of her family members, including her in-laws, were also braceros; she talks about what a great experience it was for them, because they were able to earn enough money to make a better life for themselves; although a number of men did meet with incredible success, many of them died while in the states due to accidents, heat stroke, or other such unfortunate incidents; after her husband stopped working as a bracero, they had two children, and they later decided to immigrate to the United States; she goes on to detail the entire process they went through, and the subsequent difficulties they faced; while in the United States, she labored in the fields of Anaheim, California, picking strawberries, for fourteen seasons; many of the pickers became feverish and could not handle the work; because she remains so keenly aware of how grueling fieldwork was for everyone, particularly at that time, she continues to fight for braceros and their 10 percent compensation.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with M. Belen Acevedo by Anabel Mota, 2006, "Interview no. 1165," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.