Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ignacio Magallanes was born on July 31, 1932, in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, México; he was the third of seven brothers; at the age of ten, he worked in agriculture; his father joined the Bracero Program in 1942; at the age of eighteen, he moved to Durango, Durango, México and worked in construction; economic hardship and his father’s insistence pushed him to enlist in the Bracero Program in 1954; he worked in California, Michigan, and Texas picking cantaloupes, lettuce, sugar beets, tomatoes, and watermelons; these activities he performed until 1961.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Magallanes describes the economic situation that led him to the Bracero Program in 1954; he worked in California, Michigan, and Texas; additionally, he details what the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México was like, the treatment he received from American doctors, and his train trip to the México-United States border; he recalls daily activities on farms, the work braceros did, and the way they were paid; furthermore, he discusses the different types of contracts they had and their lengths; he states what braceros did during weekends, and the racism they encountered in the United States; he remembers the benefits of being a bracero, the things he liked and disliked in the U.S., and his fond memories of the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Ignacio Magallanes Hernández by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1010," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.