Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Carmen Garcia de Lua was born on November 21, 1947, in San Gregorio, Michoacán, Mexico; she had thirteen siblings; her father was a bracero and her mother was a housewife; in 1962, at the age of fourteen, Carmen married a man named Rafael Lua; they had eight children; Mr. Lua was a bracero from 1942-62; Mr. Lua worked in Calexico, California and in Yuba, California; in addition, Mr. Lua worked for the National Park Service in Washington State; in 1995, Mr. Rafael Lua died at the age of sixty-nine; Mrs. Carmen Lua subsequently married a man named Martin, who worked as a bracero in 1956; Mrs. Lua resides in San Marcos, California.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Lua discusses her childhood and the financial difficulties she and her family endured; several of her siblings died of hunger; Carmen’s mother moved from San Gregorio, Michoacan, Mexico, to Mexicali, Mexico, in order to be close to her husband who was working as a bracero in the U.S.; Mrs. Lua recalls that her father rarely sent money home; consequently, her mother took in other people’s laundry to support the family; Carmen also helped her family by washing dishes in order to supplement the family’s income, as a result, she never received any formal schooling; in 1942, Mr. Lua traveled to Mexico City, Mexico to join the bracero program; from there, he traveled to a processing center; Mrs. Lua does not remember the name of the center; Mr. Rafael Lua was no longer working as a bracero when Carmen and he married; he traveled back and forth between the U.S. and Mexicali, Mexico and used someone else’s passport in order to obtain employment; she and their children lived in Paderones, Mexico while Mr. Lua worked in Yuba City, California; in 1969, her husband was involved in an accident in Yuba City and was in a coma for four days; he recovered and he sent for Mrs. Lua and their children; the family lived in the U.S. since 1970, however, they did not obtain permanent resident status until 1978; Mrs. Lua briefly discusses working in the fields picking peaches, pecans, plums, and grapes; her second husband, Martin, joined the bracero program in 1956; upon completing his contract, Martin did not return to Mexico.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Carmen Lua by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1299," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.