Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
J. Carmen Quezada Morales was born in 1928, in Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, México; he is the eldest of his five sisters and two brothers; his parents were masons and campesinos; he was formally educated through the second grade; by the time he was twelve years old, he had already begun to sow the land; in 1949, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming, picking, cleaning, and pruning various fruits and vegetables.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Quezada talks about his family, his parents in particular and their variety of trades; when the bracero program started in 1942, he often heard people talk about it; many men were afraid of being taken to war if they enlisted; in 1949, he joined the program, and he went with a group of friends to the contracting center in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México; he describes the long waiting time and the medical exams, including injections and blood samples; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming, picking, cleaning, and pruning different fruits and vegetables; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, living, amenities, provisions, daily routines, payments, deductions, correspondence, working relationships, and recreational activities, including trips into town; his first time in the United States, he worked in Texas, and he explains how he was able to get more work after his contract ended; Texas was also the only place he saw undocumented workers; he also mentions that in Wyoming braceros were not always allowed in public establishments; moreover, he also talks about the tragic events surrounding the deaths of two of his children, Jesús and Moisés, while he was working in the United States; after completing several contracts, he returned to México, and he went on to have nine additional children with his wife; overall, he has both positive and negative memories of his experiences as a bracero.
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Interview with J. Carmen Quezada Morales by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1288," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.