Mireya Loza & Matt García
Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
María Carmona was born on November 9, 1945, in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, México; she is the daughter of a bracero; at age fifteen, her family moved to the United States with her father, and they all worked on a farm; during the 1970s, she helped organize migrant workers for César Chávez’s union; María Serrano was born on January 4, 1930, in Tecolotlán, Jalisco, México; her husband was a bracero from 1944 to the end of the program; she moved to the United States in 1966 and worked picking cherries, grapefruits, lemon, and lettuce; in the 1970s, she also joined César Chávez’s movement and helped organize migrant workers.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Carmona and Ms. Serrano discuss their childhoods and what life was like in México for them; they both explain how the bracero program impacted them directly; specifically, Ms. Carmona describes the hardships her family endured while her father worked as a bracero; she states that it was hard to never know when her father would return; additionally, she explains how her mother coped with the situation and how the children had to work from an early age to help make ends meet; for Ms. Serrano, the bracero program impacted her through her marriage; she relates how hard it was to have a husband that worked as bracero and was often away from home; she states that sometimes she did not see him for two or three years, and that he often was home only long enough to get her pregnant; both women recount how they moved to the United States, and how they became involved in the union movement developed by César Chávez; they explain how they organized strikes and how teamsters attempted to intimidate and disrupt their efforts; they both address the problems they saw in their communities due to alcoholism and violence; they conclude the interview discussing how they attempted to solve those problems.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with María Serrano and María Carmona by Mireya Loza & Matt García, 2006, "Interview no. 1212," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.