Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jesus Castilleda was born on October 15th, 1939, in Doctor Arroyo, Nuevo León, México; he had five brothers and two sisters; his father worked on the farm that they owned, while his mother was a housewife; he went to school until the third grade and later he helped his family working on the farm; he enlisted in the bracero program in Monterrey and he worked mainly in the cotton fields of Texas, as well as in Tennessee and Arkansas; his last contract was in 1964; after that he went back to México, and later he came back to the U.S. illegally; he and his family became American citizens a few years later.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Castilleda briefly recalls his childhood and working in agriculture with his family; he crossed the border to work illegally in the cotton fields with his father when he was ten or twelve years old; he remembers that his uncles came as braceros and as soon as he turned eighteen he enlisted in the city of Monterrey; after enlisting, he went through contracting centers in Piedras Negras and Hidalgo, Texas; he remembers the medical exams they were put through; he worked in places like La Mesa and Big Springs, Texas, as well as in Tennessee and Arkansas, mainly on cotton and bean fields; while working as a bracero he got married in México and he explains that he sent money to his family; in addition, he remembers that the people from the different cities he visited were very nice to the braceros; after the contracts ended he went back to México and later came back with his family illegally; after some years he arranged his residency and now all of his children live in the United States as well; Mr. Castilledas concludes that the overall experience of being a bracero helped him and his family
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Interview with Jesus T. Castilleda by Ariana Ornelas, 2010, "Interview no. 1459," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.