Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Marcelino Gonzalez was born on August 4th, 1934, in Candela, Coahuila, México; he had three brothers and two sisters; his father worked in agriculture, while his mother stayed at home; he went to school through the fourth grade, until he decided he wanted to work in the ranches in the United States; later, approximately in 1954, he enlisted as a bracero and worked primarily in the cotton, lettuce and onion fields in Texas; he returned to Mexico and later he immigrated back to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Gonzalez talks about his hometown and how, despite the economic difficulties, he enjoyed his childhood; he describes his schooling and that when he was studying he wanted to come to the united States to work; around the year of 1954, Mr. Gonzalez went through the hiring process to become a bracero; he mentions going through the hiring center of Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; he describes the embarrassment of going through physical medical exams, where they were stripped and examined; as a bracero, Mr. Gonzalez remembers mainly working in the cotton, onion, and lettuce fields of El Paso, Plainview and Laredo, Texas; he goes into detail about working conditions, living conditions, payments, responsibilities, recreational activities, friendships, and mostly, experiences with other braceros during those times; after he completed his last contract he returned to Mexico and worked there for several years; later on he was able to legally emigrate to the United States with his entire family and he is now a U.S. citizen; although he did suffer as a bracero, he acknowledges that the program helped him with his economical difficulties at the time.
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Interview with Marcelino Gonzalez D. by Cesar Villarreal, 2010, "Interview no. 1461," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.