Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Francisco Gallardo González was born January 1, 1933, in Atil, Sonora, México; he was the first born of his six siblings; his father was a bricklayer, and he also worked his own land, planting corn, cotton and wheat; Francisco was also formally educated through the sixth grade; in 1954, he worked in the United States, and he was ultimately able to acquire a bracero contract through 1956; he labored in the alfalfa fields and orange orchards of California; in 1958, he obtained legal status, and he settled in Tucson, Arizona; two years later, in 1960, he married; he and his wife had six children, five boys and one girl.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Gallardo talks about his family and hometown; in 1954, he came to the United States and worked without proper documentation in Holtville, California; his boss took him to El Centro, California to obtain a contract with the bracero program; he explains what he went through, including medical exams and delousing procedures, before returning to work in Holtville; after his contract ended, he returned to México and went through the contracting process in Empalme, Sonora, México, which was much more difficult, due to the requirements and long waiting times; as a bracero, he labored in the alfalfa fields and orange orchards of California; he goes on to detail camp sizes, housing, accommodations, living conditions, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, contract lengths and renewals, payments and remittances; moreover, he mentions the various jobs the men completed, including driving tractors and irrigating crops; they earned between $1.00 and $1.75 an hour, which at the time, was a lot of money; oftentimes, they were bitten by snakes while working and cured themselves; on one occasion Francisco was involved in a fist fight with another bracero; later, in 1958, he obtained legal status, and he settled in Tucson, Arizona; two years later, in 1960, he married; he and his wife went on to have six children, five boys and one girl; overall, he is proud to have been a bracero and has positive memories of the program.
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Interview with Francisco Gallardo González by Marina Kalashnikova, 2008, "Interview no. 1346," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.