Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Librado Briceño Domínguez was born in 1936, on a ranch named Los Orgunos, in Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, Mexico; his father, Librado Briceño, died before he was born; his mother, Rosa Domínguez, worked to care for him and his four older siblings; consequently, they were raised by their grandparents; as a young boy he learned to work the land and care for animals; when he was roughly twenty-three years old, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he worked with his brother; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona, California, and Texas until the program ended in 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Briceño talks about his family and what life was like growing up on a ranch; his older brother, Guadalupe, and a number of his friends and cousins worked as braceros; when Librado was roughly twenty-three years old, he decided to enlist in the bracero program with his brother; they left for Empalme, Sonora, México, and Librado left behind his wife and two children; he describes the process of getting his name on the list of available workers, which included payment, even if not using a coyote; while waiting in Empalme, sometimes for up to two months, he worked on nearby ranches to survive; he was once robbed of all his money and forced to return home; in addition, he talks about the exams he underwent, including being stripped and deloused like an animal; in El Centro, California, he and other men were also distributed to different worksites like animals; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona, California, and Texas, picking corn, cotton, grapefruit, lemons, lettuce, peaches, strawberries, and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, living conditions, amenities, provisions, treatment, payments, remittances, and recreational activities, including trips into town; in Texas he earned less money, because most of the cotton had already rotted; while working in Salinas, California, he and a foreman were involved in a physical altercation, which lead to his transfer; after the program ended, he worked in the United States illegally for a time, but he ultimately returned México with his family.
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Interview with Librado Briceño Domínguez by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1280," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.