Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Juan Loza was born on October 11, 1939, in Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, México; he was the eldest of his twelve siblings; in 1960, he joined the bracero program, and he worked in Arkansas, California, Michigan, and Texas; he picked beets, celery, corn, cucumbers, onions, peanuts, peppers, rice, soybeans, and tomatoes; he returned to México after the program, but he later decided to migrate to Chicago, Illinois, as an undocumented worker in 1968.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Loza recalls his childhood in Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, México; he explains that he had little formal schooling, and he began working at age eight; additionally, he states that he heard of the bracero program from his godfather, and he approached the mayor of his town to be placed on the bracero list; he recounts his experiences while waiting to be contracted in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, and how he had to work in order to have a place to stay while waiting for his name to be called; moreover, he relates what the process was like, the rough treatment he received from doctors, the way exams were conducted, and how he was dusted during the disinfection process; he worked as a bracero from 1960 to 1964, picking beets, celery, corn, cucumbers, onions, peanuts, peppers, rice, soybeans, and tomatoes in Arkansas, California, Michigan, and Texas; he talks about what his life was like as a bracero, the living quarters he had, the food he ate, and the way he was treated; furthermore, he narrates how he was denied service at a restaurant in Texas, and he was consequently beaten by a guard; he also recalls another incident in Texas when a group of morenos he worked with attempted to break into his living quarters; in addition, he states that he was treated badly by Mexican-American foremen; in 1968, he returned to the United States as an undocumented worker due to poverty; he concludes by expressing that he is proud to have been a bracero, which ultimately helped him change his life.
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Interview with Juan Loza by Mireya Loza, 2005, "Interview no. 1273," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.