Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Cipriano Moreno was born in 1937, in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México; his father worked in agriculture, and his mother was a housewife; he had two brothers, both of whom later died; during his adolescent years, he began working in construction as a bricklayer; sometime later, he married; in 1960, when he was twenty-three years old, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he completed two contracts and labored in the fields of California, cleaning, pruning and picking beets, cantaloupe, grapes, lettuce and watermelon; he eventually immigrated to the United States with his family, and he ultimately became a citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Moreno briefly speaks about his family; in 1960, when he was twenty-three years old, he decided to enlist in the bracero program; he signed up in his hometown of Irapuato, Guanajuato, but he was sent to Empalme, Sonora; he was assigned a number based on his home state, and once he was called, he was transferred to Mexicali, Baja California, México, and then to El Centro, California; while there, he was stripped, medically examined and deloused; as a bracero, he completed two contracts and labored in the fields of California, cleaning, pruning and picking beets, cantaloupe, grapes, lettuce and watermelon; he goes on to detail the worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, social and working relationships, payments, correspondence, contract lengths and renewals and recreational activities, including trips into town; upon arriving at his first worksite in Brawley, California, the men were taken to the barracks and given blankets, towels and soap and sent to work the next day; on one occasion while picking grapes, another bracero severely cut himself and was immediately taken to the hospital; during free time, they went into town to see movies, and if they had family close by, they went to visit; his overall memories of the program are positive, and if he had it to do over again, he would; he eventually immigrated to the United States with his family, and he ultimately became a citizen.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Cipriano Moreno by Adriana Sandoval, 2006, "Interview no. 1231," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.