Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Guevara Rodríguez was born in Cerro Colorado, Guanajuato, México; at an early age, he worked sowing beans and corn to help his family; at the age of eighteen, he traveled to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, and crossed into the United States to labor as an undocumented worker; he became a bracero in 1949, and worked in California, Missouri, Montana, and Texas picking and harvesting asparagus, corn, cotton, lettuce, strawberries, and sugar beets; he did these activities until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Guevara Rodríguez recalls growing up in Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato, México, and sowing beans and corn from the age of eight; he relates how, when he was eighteen, he traveled to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, and later crossed into the United States to work as an undocumented laborer; additionally, he recounts being hired by a rancher in Texas, and taken to the border to become a bracero; he describes the hiring process in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México and Empalme, Sonora, México, how braceros slept in the streets before being hired, the medical test they got, and the disinfection process they endured; furthermore, he discusses daily life on the farms, the wages they received, and the treatment from foremen; he also states what complaints braceros had, and how representatives from the Mexican consulate visited them to hear their complaints and help resolve them; moreover, he explains what braceros did on weekends, the visits they took into town, and the card games they played; he concludes by expressing his feelings about the program, how he remembers it with much sadness and sorrow, and why he decided to stay in México.
Date of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with José Santos Guevara Rodríguez by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1035," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.