Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Dionisio Hernández Canchola was born in Jalisco, México, on April 13, 1931; sometime during the late fifties or early sixties, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Texas until the program ended in 1964; he married in 1970, and a year later his wife had their first child; by 1972, he and his family moved to Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, México, and settled there.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Hernández recalls that sometime during the late fifties or early sixties, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he went through a contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; he comments that he went with one of his brothers-in-law, but they were separated during the x-ray portion of their processing; they did, however, meet up later while in the United States, and they picked cotton together; as a bracero, Dionisio labored in the fields of California and Texas until the program ended in 1964; he goes on to briefly recount the different worksites, housing, payment, treatment, and recreational activities; in addition, he describes working in Lamesa, Texas, and having to prepare his own meals, which was especially difficult, because he did not know anything about cooking; he also saw snow for the first time while in Texas; moreover, he explains that Hidalgo, Texas was the worst; there were about three hundred braceros there, and they were divided into smaller working groups; sometimes, they were not taken to the fields until 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM, at which point there was not much left to pick; eventually, by the early sixties, he had saved enough money to buy a car; he also explains that a group of braceros organized to demand better pay and appointed him their leader; in the end, they all backed out, but he refused to continue working for little pay, so he returned to México; he married in 1970, and a year later his wife had their first child; by 1972, he and his family moved to Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, México, and settled there; his overall memories of the program are positive.
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Interview with Dionisio Hernández Canchola by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1282," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.