Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Amadeo Tapia Q. Was born in Sahuaripa, Sonora, México; he is the youngest of eight siblings; his father worked in agriculture, and was also a civil judge; he had formal schooling until the fifth grade; in 1958, he became a bracero, and worked in Arizona and California picking beets, cotton, lemons, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes; he worked as a bracero until 1962; he became a resident of the United States after leaving the program, and became a U.S. citizen in 1991.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Tapia remembers growing up in Sahuaripa, Sonora, México, and his father’s work as a civil judge; he went to school until the fifth grade; in 1958, he joined the bracero program and worked in Arizona and California picking beets, cotton, lemons, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes, until 1962; he recounts how he joined the program in 1958 and 1959 through a government list, and how for the next two contracts he had to pick cotton to acquire them; he describes what the contracting process was like in Empalme, Sonora, México, the medical exams they got, and the embarrassment of having to be nude in front of thousands of people; moreover, he relates the hardship of traveling to the border in freight trains, the process at El Centro, California, the way they were fumigated, and how they were assigned to farms; he explains what his living conditions were, and the food they ate; furthermore, he states how he was paid, the quantity he got, and the difference in pay from state to state; he also describes what they did for entertainment; additionally, he recounts how he became a resident of the U.S. in 1962, and then a citizen in 1991; he remembers his time as a bracero with pride.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Amadeo Tapia Q by Verónica Córtez, 2006, "Interview no. 1199," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.