Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Pedro Rivera Duran was born on September 17, 1929, in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico; he had three brothers and one sister; as a young boy, he helped his family by working in the fields and consequently never received any formal schooling; later, he became a bracero and worked primarily in the orange, lemon, chili, tomato, and avocado fields of California; he contracted for eighteen months at a time; he married and had several children; at the time of the interview, Mr. Rivera Duran was living in El Centro, California.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Rivera Duran briefly talks about his hometown and what his life was like growing up; he briefly recalls his family and his childhood; he remembers hearing stories about the bracero program and decided to join; he went through the hiring process at San Luis de la Paz to become a bracero; he traveled from Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico to Mexicali; he briefly describes the transportation and the required documents; as part of the process, he was medically examined, vaccinated, and deloused; he spent most of his time in the San Fernando Valley and Escondido, California; he worked in the citrus groves of San Fernando and he picked avocado in Escondido, California; he says the braceros worked approximately eight hours a day, six days a week; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, treatment, friendships, and recreational activities; on Sundays, he and his friends would get written permission to go into town; they would go to the movies and to dances; he states that he spent the majority of his pay on woman and alcohol; on occasion, some of the braceros had altercations; some braceros were allowed to transfer to other camps if they did not like where they were stationed; as a bracero, he did not feel discriminated against; after the program ended he worked in the lettuce and melon fields in the California Valley; with the help of his boss, he became a legal United States resident; he never returned to Mexico; Mr. Rivera Duran concludes that he is very proud to have worked with the Bracero Program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Pedro Rivera by Verónica Córtez, 2006, "Interview no. 1312," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.