Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Agustín Flores was born on April 1, 1940, in Poanas, Durango, México; he was the eldest of eight siblings, and as such began working in the fields at the age of seven in order to help his family; in spite of his continuing efforts to work and bring in money, his family’s financial situation continued to worsen; in a final effort to relieve his family’s economic burden, he traveled to Durango, Durango, to enroll in the Bracero Program in 1959; as a bracero, he worked in Texas picking oranges.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Flores relives the hunger, sadness, and desperation that indelibly marked his childhood and adolescence; some of his uncles worked as braceros, and they had warned him that he would suffer greatly if he were to join them and work in the United States; in 1959, in spite of their admonitions, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program with the hopes of alleviating some of his family’s financial burdens; he describes the long waiting periods during the hiring process he went through in Durango, Durango, México; in addition, he details the medical exams at the contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and the disinfecting procedures at the reception center in Del Rio, Texas; as a bracero, he worked in Texas at an orange orchard; he goes on to explain the daily activities, work, wages, payments, contract amendments and extensions, food, housing, common problems, and what some of the braceros often did on weekends; furthermore, he comments on what his life was like after the program, and he concludes that even after a year of working as a bracero, his financial situation did not improve.
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Interview with Agustín Flores Contreras by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1000," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.