Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Salvador Beltran Torres was born on November 30, 1930, in Cosalá, Sinaloa, México; he was the second of five brothers, and had three sisters; his parents worked in agriculture, and he began helping his father at age five; in 1956, he joined the bracero program, and then returned to it in 1958, because his father was killed; he worked in Arizona and California picking cotton, spreading seed, and watering until 1962; after leaving the bracero program, he became a resident of the United States and brought his family to California.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Beltran Torres remembers growing up in Cosalá, Sinaloa, México, and working from an early age with his father in agriculture; he recalls how he heard about the bracero program, and what the contracting process was like in Empalme, Sonora, México; in 1956, he joined the bracero program, and then returned to it in 1958, because his father was killed; he worked in Arizona and California picking cotton, spreading seed, and watering until 1962; furthermore, he describes what life on the farm was like, the work he did, and the pay he received; he explains what his living arrangements were like, the furniture they had, and the good food they received; moreover, he relates what they did for recreation, and how they worked everyday, except Sundays; he remembers a time when he won a car in a raffle held by a bracero who was returning for México, and how he sold it because he did not know how to drive; additionally, he states that he did not send money to his wife, but that she borrowed money from a group of women who ran a store in his home town, and then he would settle the debt; in 1962, he became a resident of the United States, and he brought his family over to California.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Salvador Beltran Torres by Mireya Loza, 2006, "Interview no. 1200," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.