Violeta Domínguez


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Heriberto Cortez was born in San Isidro, Oaxaca, México; in his childhood, he worked planting beans, corn, and peanuts; at the age of seventeen, he moved to Oaxaca, Oaxaca, México; in 1957, he joined the Bracero Program; he worked in Arkansas, Minnesota, and Texas picking apples, peppers, cotton, cucumbers, and watermelon; additionally, he labored in cattle ranches.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Cortez recalls growing up in San Isidro, Oaxaca, México; he relates how he worked planting beans, corn, and peanuts as a child, and, at age seventeen, moved to Oaxaca de Júarez, Oaxaca, México; additionally, he remembers being advised by a friend to travel to Mexico City, México to join the Bracero Program; he worked as a bracero from 1957 to 1960 in Arkansas, Minnesota, and Texas; there, he picking apples, peppers, cotton, cucumbers, and watermelons; he describes his experience at the bracero contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México, and the legal requirements he needed to fulfill for the program; furthermore, he details his trip to the United States-México border, his time at the reception center in Hidalgo, Texas, and the medical exams he went through; he explains the lengths of his contracts, and how he received extensions; moreover, he outlines daily life on the farms, what housing braceros had, the rules they had to follow, and how they organized cooking duties; he also states what they did during weekends, how they spent their money, and their visits to movie theaters; to conclude, he recounts what the benefits of having been a bracero were, how his life changed, and what he did after the program ended.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

110 minutes

Listen to the Interview

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Tape Number

No. 1030

Transcript Number

No. 1030

Length of Transcript

85 minutes

Interview Number

No. 1030

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.