Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
María Félix was born on October 20, 1942, in Guerrero, México; her father, Leopoldo Mota Serrano, was born on November 15, 1918, in Guerrero as well; during the fifties, he worked with the bracero program in Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking various fruits and vegetables; María’s parents separated in the late fifties, and her father remarried shortly thereafter; during the late seventies, María came to the United States illegally, in order to work, but she was later able to obtain legal status.
Summary of Interview
María Félix discusses her family and childhood; her father, Leopoldo Mota Serrano, worked with the bracero program during the fifties in Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking various fruits and vegetables; María talks about how sad she and her sister were whenever he left and how they were too young to understand why he had to go away; while he was gone, he would send letters, money, and small gifts; these items, however, were sent to a family friend in town, and his wife, María’s mother, would pick everything up from him; upon one of his return trips to México, he separated from his wife, and shortly thereafter he remarried; when he saw his family for the last time, he took his youngest daughter with him at his new wife’s request; María describes what happened to her sister and how her family subsequently fell apart; with reference to the program, María repeatedly alludes to the continual fight for equitable compensation given the fact that the Mexican government cheated so many braceros out of money; moreover, she mentions rumors she had heard about the Mexican government granting reparations and visas to children of braceros; during the late seventies, she came to the United States illegally, in order to work, but she was later able to obtain legal status; she concludes by discussing the importance of heritage and how proud she is of her father, and braceros in general, because of all their hard work in spite of the fact that they were treated so poorly.
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Interview with María Félix Mota by Lilia Fernandez, 2005, "Interview no. 1270," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.