Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Federico Navarro Duran was born in Cuerámaro, Guanajuato, Mexico on March 2, 1929; he was one of nine children; his father worked in agriculture; he worked in the fields when he was a small child; he was formally educated through the second grade; in 1952, he became a bracero and worked in the lemon fields in California; he also worked in Denver Colorado, Glendale Arizona, and Pecos, Texas; he married his wife Ester, when he was seventeen years old; he and his family later immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Navarro talks about his hometown and working in agriculture and with livestock while growing up; he married Ester and shortly thereafter he decided to enlist in the bracero program; Mr. Navarro discusses his family life in detail; he further discusses the death of his two young daughters; he went through the contracting center in Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico; from there he travelled to a camp called Las Animas; from there, he was sent to Benjamin Hill; in addition, he mentions going through the contraction centers in Empalme Sonora, Mexico, Hermosillo, Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico; as part of the process, he was medically examined, vaccinated, and deloused; upon being hired he was sent to Oxnard, California; he worked in the fields picking lemons; Mr. Navarro talks about the living conditions at the Oxnard camp; he returned to Mexico for a brief time; he later re-contracted with the program; he picked tomatoes in Tracy, California and he picked cotton in Pecos, Texas; Mr. Navarro also worked in the fields of Denver, Colorado picking cabbage, cucumber, and corn; he goes on to detail the remittances and correspondence to his wife and parents; Mr. Navarro discusses the ten percent deduction from his pay; Mr. Navarro talks about going to the movies for entertainment; he also talks about laboring in the fields and the long hours; with the help of his boss, he and his family legally emigrate to the United States; his overall feeling about the bracero program are positive.
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Interview with Federico Navarro Duran by Mireya Loza, 2006, "Interview no. 1303," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.