Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mrs. Rosa María Navarro Quemé was born on September 30, 1950, in Rio Grande, Zacatecas; she is the eldest of eleven siblings; her mother was orphaned at the age of three; she was a housewife, and her father worked in agriculture; her father was a bracero from 1942-1959; in 1949, her father married her mother; Rosa María did not have any formal education; all of the documentation that her father kept from his time working as a bracero was ruined during the raining season; however, the records at Mexicali and Calexico indicate that he was a bracero; he is registered as Genaro Navarro Segovia; his full name was Eulogio Genaro Navarro Segovia; her father contracted by a company known as “El Grey”; he worked in Salinas, Coachella, Brawley and Fresno, California; he also worked in Phoenix, Arizona; her father died at the age of seventy-five.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Navarro Quemé briefly recalls her childhood and the financial difficulties she and her family endured; at the age of five, she began picking cotton to supplement the family’s income; her mother took in laundry on the occasion that her father did not send money home while working as a bracero; Mrs. Navarro Quemé discusses the American Consul’s notification of her father’s hospitalization; she says that her father told them that the braceros were made to donate blood every eight days so that it could be sent to the soldiers fighting in WWII; she suspects that his illness was caused by this practice; she recalls that her father did not visit them often while working as a bracero; he was not able to return despite the death of his two-year-old daughter; she states that her father used a short-handled hoe while working in the lettuce fields; in addition, her father was allowed to stay and work as a foreman after his contracts expired; after his last contract, Mr. Navarro Segovia worked in the fields of Mexicali, Mexico; Mrs. Navarro Quemé discusses how she helped her father in the fields; in addition, Mrs. Navarro Quemé discusses the ten percent monetary deductions taken from the braceros; she gives her opinion of both the United States government and the Mexican government and the role she thinks they both played in exploiting the braceros.
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Interview with Rosa María Navarro by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1304," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.