Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
María Guadalupe Salcedo Gudiño was born in Santa Bárbara, in the municipality of Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México, on August 2, 1930; she had five brothers and one sister who passed away as an infant; her parents were campesinos, and they worked on an hacienda; although she was never formally educated, she did learn how to manage a household by helping her mother and caring for her younger siblings; later, when she was sixteen years old, she married; her husband enlisted in the bracero program in 1955, and he completed a total of five contracts.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Salcedo talks about what her life was like growing up; she vividly recalls having to collect buckets of water on a daily basis from a river that was relatively far away; when she was sixteen years old, she met a man on her ranch, and soon after, they married; his parents passed away when he was eleven years old, leaving him the home where he and María lived; by 1955, they had three children, and he decided to enlist in the bracero program; he left with a group of men from nearby ranches; ultimately, he went through contracting centers in Empalme, Sonora and Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and completed a total of five contracts; sometimes, he would leave in the middle of a crop season, and María had to learn how to work in the fields; she also learned how to cut and sell wood; oftentimes, she would balance the heavy loads of wood on her head; once, she even fell from a horse while gathering wood; she was pregnant at the time and permanently injured her back; her mother helped her take care of the children; on one occasion, she did not hear or receive money from her husband for four months; at the time, he was working twelve hours a day, watering alfalfa, and he did not know anyone who could write letters for him; when he did manage to send word home, his sister was the one who read and wrote for María; in addition, she mentions speaking to other braceros’ wives; to conclude, she talks about her children and the various places they live in the United States.
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Interview with María Guadalupe Salcedo Gudiño by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1453," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.