Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Belizario Luna was born on June 26, 1936, in Guadalupe Victoria, Durango, México; he was the sixth of eleven children; his father died when he was six years old; he was forced to work in agriculture at the age of thirteen; due to economic hardship, his mother also rented him out as a laborer; in 1951, he enlisted in the Bracero Program and worked in Arizona, California, and Texas; he picked and harvested cotton, lemons, lettuce, and oranges; he did these jobs until 1963.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Luna worked in Arizona, California and Texas from 1951 to 1963; he recalls how he found out about the Bracero Program, the hiring process in rural areas, and the hardship braceros experienced outside contracting centers; additionally, he describes the medical examinations performed on him and the bracero facilities in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and Empalme, Sonora, México; he also details his trip to the border and the disinfecting stations he went through; furthermore, he recounts his first farming activities, the different jobs he performed, the different kinds of cotton he picked, and the details of his workdays; he remembers the food they ate, the housing they had, their weekend outings, and the relationships among braceros; moreover, he discusses the contracts they signed, their wages, the methods of payment, and the treatment they received from foremen; beyond daily activities, he recollects a time when he was sick, and the severe weather he experienced in Arizona; he explains his definition of the word bracero, the pride he feels in having taken part in the program, and his sadness when the program was terminated.
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Interview with Belizario Luna Pulido by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1009," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.