Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Jesus. M. Calles Quijada was born of January 21, 1936, in San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora, Mexico; his father’s name was Jacobo Calles; his mother was a housewife, she sold produce and helped his father work in the fields; he was the youngest of four sons; he completed the sixth grade; Mr. Jesus Maria Calles Quijada and his three brothers, Jose, Ramon, and Jesus Isabel were all braceros.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Calles Quijada talks about his hometown and working in agriculture and with livestock while growing up; he talks about how his father’s land was eventually taken from him; he briefly discusses how he met his wife, Magdalena Vazquez; he remembers the contracting process and describes the medical exams and required documents; he was stripped, examined, and deloused; he describes the process as humiliating, especially for the indigenous that came from the South; Mr. Calles Quijada talks about working ten hours a day cleaning ditches and irrigating the fields in Imperial Valley; Mr. Calles Quijada also labored in the fields of Sacramento; in addition, he describes helping the foreman with the daily paperwork; he also worked in construction; Mr. Calles Quijada goes on to detail the living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions, remittance treatment, friendships and correspondence; Mr. Calles Quijada also talks about how he and two of his brothers were always contracted together; he mentions the ten percent deduction that was taken to be put into the savings fund and that he has yet to see any of the money; after his last contract he was able to emigrate to the United States; his overall memories of the bracero program are positive.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Jesús M. Calles Quijada by Verónica Córtez, 2006, "Interview no. 1291," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.