Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Judith García was the third born of eight children; her father was from a small remote town in Oaxaca, México, and her grandparents owned and cared for livestock; by the time she was roughly five years old, her father enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, picking grapes, lettuce, onions and peaches; he completed a total of five contracts; a few years later, when Judith was eight years old, her father passed away.
Summary of Interview
Ms. García talks about her father, who was a bracero, and details his childhood; he was not formally educated for very long, but he did learn to read and write; when he was eighteen years old, he enlisted in the bracero program; Judith was about five years old at the time; his absence was difficult for the entire family, especially her mother; she had to take on the role of being a father for her children and, she also took over the family business of making and selling mezcal; Judith recalls that many of her friends’ father’s were also braceros, and people in town often talked about the program; her father regularly sent letters and money home, which helped them greatly; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, picking grapes, lettuce, onions and peaches; he completed a total of five contracts; she remembers that he talked about being fumigated, and how humiliating it was, because it made him feel as though the people in the United States were disgusted by him and the other braceros; he earned less than a dollar a day, and he was fed sandwiches, which he did not like; during his free time, he went into town, and even went to church when he could; a few years later, when Judith was eight years old, her father passed away; she also mentions that her brother worked in the United States, and he eventually became involved with the fight for bracero compensation.
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Interview with Judith García by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1221," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.