Interviewee

Sabas Luna

Interviewer

Corina Benavides López

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Sabas Luna was born in 1939, in Tlaltenango [de Sánchez Román], Zacatecas, México; his parents were campesinos whose main crop was corn, and he was the fourth of nine children; he was formally educated through the fourth grade, during which time he also helped his parents work the land; when he was eighteen, he followed in his father’s footsteps and enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arkansas, California, and Texas, picking avocado, cotton, lemons, and tomatoes; he also worked at a dairy caring for livestock; in the late sixties he immigrated to the United States with his family.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Luna recounts his childhood and adolescence, particularly his experiences as a young campesino; he recalls his dad working as a bracero, which helped his family financially, but left him without a father’s guidance; consequently, he and his older brother had to care for the family and show their younger siblings how to work; at eighteen, he obtained his first bracero contract in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, which took him to Arkansas; it rained too much there for him to earn any money; the following year, he went through a center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, which took him to a dairy farm just outside of Amarillo, Texas, where he stayed for three years; he initially hesitates to talk about how he was treated at the contracting centers, but he goes on to describe being stripped, medically examined, and deloused, which he found offensive; moreover, he details the various worksites, living conditions, provisions, housing, duties, daily routines, contract renewals, payments, remittances, and recreational activities; after the program ended, he met and married his wife; he stayed with a longing to return to the United States and make a better life for himself and his family; in the late sixties he and his family moved to United States; he notes that he is grateful he did not have a wife or family at the time, because it would have been too difficult; he concludes by stating that the history of a bracero is that of a worker who suffered greatly.

Date of Interview

5-13-2006

Length of Interview

66 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 1173

Transcript Number

No. 1173

Length of Transcript

56 pages

Interview Number

No. 1173

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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