Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Héctor Solís was born in Hidalgo, México; he was the fifth of nine brothers; at an early age, he worked in agriculture; at age fifteen, he moved to Mexico City, México for school; he joined the Bracero Program in 1953, and worked in California picking almonds, cotton, peaches, and tomatoes.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Solís recalls growing up in Hidalgo, México; at age fifteen, he remembers moving to Mexico City, México for school; he later decided to join the Bracero Program after hearing positive stories about it from his brothers; a bracero from 1953 to 1956, he worked in California picking almonds, cotton, peaches, and tomatoes; he describes enrolling in a small town, paying bribes to appear on a selection list, and what the hiring process was like at Empalme, Sonora, México; additionally, he recounts the long wait there, the routine questions he was asked, and his train trip to the United States border; he details what the process was like at the reception center in California, the medical exams he endured, and how the disinfection process was done; furthermore, he explains the daily activities on the farms, and what their food and housing was like; he discusses the treatment they received from foremen, and the relationship among braceros; moreover, he presents the complaints braceros voiced, and the misunderstandings they had about their contracts; he recounts how once his contract was terminated before its expiration date, and how he was left without money to return to México; to conclude, he states that he feels proud to have been a bracero, and explains why he decided to stay in México, and why he feels that México is a better place to educate a family.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Héctor Solís Fuentes by Violeta Domínguez, 2002, "Interview no. 1044," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.