Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Víctor Martínez was born on July 28, 1934, in Tlaquiltenango, Morelos, México; as a child, he worked with his family harvesting corn, peanuts, and rice; he stopped attending school at an early age due to the ill treatment he received from his teacher; as an adult, he learned to read and write; in 1956, he left home to join the Bracero Program; he worked in California picking apricots, lettuce, and peas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Martínez recalls growing up in Miacatlán, Morelos, México; he remembers that, as a child, he helped his family with farming chores; they harvested corn, peanuts, and rice for self consumption and profit; he states that he stopped attending school at an early age due to the ill treatment he received from his teacher, and that he learned to read and write as an adult; additionally he discusses how his father opposed him going to the United States for work; due to this, he hired a coyote to take him to Empalme, Sonora, México so he could enlist in the Bracero Program; he details how he became a bracero in 1956; additionally, he describes the hiring process in Empalme, his train trip in cargo carts to the border and his experience at the processing centers; he also expresses how the fumigation process was carried out, and how ashamed he felt when they were walked in front of female secretaries while being nude; furthermore, he recounts his time in California picking apricots, lettuce, and peas; he presents how life was for him in the U.S., and the work he did; moreover, he talks about how he returned to the U.S as an undocumented worker after the program was terminated, and how he preferred working as a contracted bracero.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Víctor Martínez A. by Violeta Domínguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1052," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.