Interviewer

Laureano Martínez

Project

Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Antonio Chávez was born on January 17, 1928, in Canatlán, Durango, México; he was the youngest of nine siblings; his father died when he was only a year old; when he was eight years old, he began helping his family by sowing beans and corn; in 1950, he enrolled in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked in Nebraska and New Mexico, harvesting and picking cotton, cucumbers, and sugar beets; he continued working with the program until 1960.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Chávez briefly recalls his family and childhood; his yearning for a better life led him to enlist in the Bracero Program in 1950; he began the hiring process at a contracting center in Chihuahua, México; while there he presented legal documents, and he was interviewed and medically examined; from there, he was taken to a processing center in Ysleta, Texas; as a bracero, he worked in Nebraska and New Mexico, harvesting and picking cotton, cucumbers, and sugar beets; he describes his various jobs and how he carried them out, the hours he worked, the different types of contracts and their amendments and extensions, the methods of payment, and the corresponding tax deductions; in addition, he explains what daily life was like on the farms, including housing, trips into the towns to buy provisions, weekend outings, how he managed to send money home, and what the relationships among the braceros were like; overall, he was treated well by the farmers; he also describes his return trip to México; for him, being a bracero is something he continues to be very proud of.

Date of Interview

5-28-2003

Length of Interview

75 minutes

Listen to the Interview

 
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Tape Number

No. 997

Transcript Number

No. 997

Length of Transcript

45 pages

Interview Number

No. 997

Terms of Use

Unrestricted

Comments

Interview in Spanish.

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