Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Martha Gutiérrez was raised in México with her three younger siblings; her mother’s name was Guadalupe, and her father’s name was Severiano Solórzano, but he always went by Javier; Martha was formally educated through the sixth grade; when she was eight years old, her father enlisted in the bracero program; not long after, her mother also left to work in the United States; her father and future husband, Esteban, worked together as braceros; she and Esteban married in 1964, and they went on to have four children, all of whom were born in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Gutiérrez briefly talks about her family; when she was eight years old, her father enlisted in the bracero program; while he was gone, his youngest son was born and was six months old by the time he returned to México; not long after, her mother left with her father to work in the United States; Martha and her siblings were left with their grandparents, but they were severely mistreated; her grandparents often went out of town and left the children alone without any food; Martha especially struggled to care for and feed her six month old little brother; during the time her parents were gone, they never received any letters or money; her mother returned periodically every two to three years and stayed for only a week at a time; seven years later, her father returned, but only to settle some property and finance issues; Martha asserts she was abandoned by her parents, and they used the bracero program as a pretext for doing so; when she was fifteen years old, she went to Mexicali, Baja California, México, to visit some of her uncles who were also braceros; through them she met Esteban, her future husband; he and her father had previously worked together as braceros; she and Esteban courted for a year through letters while she was in Jalisco; he finally sent her a telegram with money for her and her younger siblings to come to the United States; she and Esteban married in 1964, and they went on to have four children, all of whom were born in the United States.
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Interview with Martha Gutiérrez by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1245," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.