Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Sara Arrieta was born on May 25, 1943, in Lerdo, Durango, México; her father, Pedro Arrieta González, was a bracero; he was born in the same city, on June 27, 1902; Sara had sixteen brothers and sisters, but three of them passed away.
Summary of Interview
Sara’s father, Pedro Arrieta González, worked as a bracero; she vividly describes how poor she and her family were while she was growing up; there were times when they went days without eating, until her father was able to send them money from the United States; they were always happy to have him back home; prior to becoming a bracero, he made brooms; he repeatedly mentioned how fond he was of the United States, especially because it was so different; his first contract was in 1942, the year before Sara was born; she comments that virtually every time he returned home, he left her mom pregnant; he would frequently tell Sara about his different experiences in the United States, including an incident where he helped unload wounded soldiers from a train during World War II; while he was gone, which was often, his family also went through very difficult times; later, in 1967, Sara and her sister emigrated to the United States; after the bracero program ended, Pedro returned to México, and he continued making brooms; Sara also recalls that her father would come back home with boxes of clothes for the entire family; he would send money home by telegraph or by mail; in addition, he also told Sara about not being allowed into certain restaurants; consequently, neither Mexicans nor African Americans were permitted.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Sara Arrieta Hernández by Alejandra Valles, 2008, "Interview no. 1333," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.