Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Sam Sanchez was born on April 5, 1936, in San Elizario, Texas; he had twelve siblings, and his father was a farmer; upon graduating from high school, he joined the Marine Corps; when he finished his tour of duty in 1959, he began working at Rio Vista, a processing center for braceros in Socorro, Texas; he continued working there until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Sanchez recalls his childhood and early adolescence; he would often work in the fields with his father picking cotton; during the early years of World War II, Italian POWs and undocumented workers often helped with the harvesting of the cotton as well; he recalls missing the first two or so months of school to help with the crops; in addition, he also recounts how he would often go to Rio Vista, a processing center for braceros in Socorro, Texas, to pick up food slops from the mess hall for his father’s pigs; later, when he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Marines; when his tour of duty was over in 1959, he began working at Rio Vista as a part-time security guard at night; he was later contracted through the Public Health Office for continued employment at Rio Vista; his primary responsibility was to draw blood samples from braceros; eventually, he moved to what was referred to as the selection area where the farmers or contractors would pick which braceros they wanted to hire; he recalls that many of the braceros refused to work in Pecos, Texas, because so many bad things happened there. Length
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Interview with Sam Sanchez by Richard Baquera, 2003, "Interview No. 1570," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.