Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Agustín González was born on August 28, 1928, in Pueblo Nuevo, Durango, Mexico; he had thirteen siblings; the spreading rumors of first time braceros making a substantial amount of money along with his brother’s insistence led him to enroll in the program in 1943; he worked in California and Texas, picking cotton, lemons, and oranges.
Summary of Interview
Mr. González briefly recalls his family, childhood, and early adolescence; the spreading rumors of first time braceros making a substantial amount of money aroused his curiosity in the Bracero Program; in 1943, he and one of his brothers enrolled in the program; together they went through the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; he describes the official documents that were required, the humiliating medical exams they underwent, and how some of the men suffered from cold and hunger while waiting outside of the center; the guards at the center were also particularly cruel and even killed some of the men; from the center in Chihuahua, he and his brother were transported to the reception center in El Paso, Texas, by trains in cattle cars; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking cotton, lemons, and oranges; he goes on to describe what daily life was like on the farms, including work, wages, contracts, housing, food, weekend outings, and the relationships between the braceros and their American employers; in addition, he comments that he and other braceros were often discriminated against by Mexican-Americans; he concludes that his memories of the program are both happy and sad, but even so, he is proud to have been a bracero.
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Interview with Agustín González Flores by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1004," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.