Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Blanco was born on December 12, 1923, in Canelas, Durango, México; he was formally schooled through the second grade; when he was eight years old, he left his family to work with his father; they farmed together well into his teenage years; later he married and began a family; in 1949, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked picking cotton in New Mexico and Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Blanco recalls his family, childhood, and adolescence; in 1948, he married his wife, and the following year, before the birth of their second child, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program; he describes how he and a group of men walked through the mountains for three days to get to a town where they could take the train to Durango, Durango, México; from there they traveled to Chihuahua to officially begin the hiring process; he describes the entire hiring and contracting process including the medical exams and disinfecting procedures; as a bracero, he worked picking cotton in New Mexico and Texas; he explains how he picked the cotton, the wages he earned, the methods of payment, and how he was able to obtain amendments and extensions to his contracts; in addition, he tells what daily life was like on the farms including the housing and food; in general, he was treated well by his American employers; he also recalls his return trip to México; overall, he benefited greatly from the program, and he concludes that he is proud to have been a part of it.
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Interview with José Guadalupe Blanco Ortega by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 996," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.