Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Heriberto Galvez was born on March 16, 1939, in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, México; he was the third of four siblings; when he was two years old, his father died, and he was in turn raised by an abusive step-father; his family’s economic difficulties coupled with the continual abuse by his step-father led him to enroll in the Bracero Program in 1963; as a bracero, he worked in Arkansas, California, and Michigan, picking cucumbers, cotton, and sorghum.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Galvéz recalls his childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood; he vividly relives his experiences with his abusive step-father; in spite of his step-father’s disapproval, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program, in 1963; he describes what the hiring process was like in the rural areas of México, including how the hands of potential braceros were often examined for calluses as signs of hard work; upon arriving at the contracting center in Durango, Durango, he underwent similar questioning and had to present official documents; from there, he was taken to a reception center in Eagle Pass, Texas, where he was medically examined; as a bracero, he worked in Arkansas, California, and Michigan, picking cucumbers, cotton, and sorghum; he goes on to explain what daily life on the farm was like for braceros, as well as work, wages, payments, contract amendments and extensions, housing, food, how they were treated by the foremen, and their weekend outings.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Heriberto Galvez Saldívar by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1002," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.