Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Sandoval was born in Mexico City, México; he was the oldest of four brothers; at the age of ten, his father left the family; in his youth, he worked as a street vendor, a factory employee, and a mechanic; he joined the Bracero Program in 1943, and worked in Kansas as a railroad line worker.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Sandoval recalls growing up in Mexico City, México, and working from an early age as a street vendor, a factory employee, and a mechanic; he joined the Bracero Program in 1943, and worked in Kansas as a railroad line worker; he describes the hiring process in Mexico City, México, the help he received, the medical exams he endured, and the contract he signed; additionally, he discusses the long train trip to Kansas, and the feelings of uncertainty the braceros felt; he explains what daily life was like in Kansas, how the work was carried out, the housing they had, the food they ate, and the atmosphere at his work; furthermore, he relates what braceros did during weekends, what hobbies they had, and how they took trips into town; he also states that braceros experienced various acts of racism during those trips, and that they were sent back to México at the end of World War II; to conclude, he explains that he did not like the United States, why he feels the bracero played an essential role in that period of U.S. history, how the program helped him see the world differently, and why his memories of the program are pleasant.
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Interview with Manuel Sandoval Espino by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1042," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.