Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Alberto Mendoza was born on September 7, 1933, in Tizapotla, Morelos, México; his father fought in the Mexican Revolution under Emiliano Zapata’s army; he inherited land from his father, but suffered many hardships with it due to droughts and floods; later, he worked in a chalk factory; he joined the Bracero Program in 1959, and worked in Arizona, California and Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Mendoza recalls his childhood in Tizapotla, Morelos, México, and memories of his father, a soldier in Emiliano Zapata’s army during the Mexican Revolution; he remembers the hardships he suffered while working the land his father left him, and the impact bad weather had on his farming; additionally, he details how he worked in factories, and his decision to join the Bracero Program; he enlisted in 1959, and relates the process he went through to get hired in Cuernavaca, Morelos, México, as well as the fumigation performed on him at the United States border; he describes working in Arizona, California, and Texas picking strawberries and other crops; he discusses his life in the program, and how he was forced to return to México when he became ill due to the food they received in the camps; furthermore, he states that he returned to the U.S. as an undocumented worker after the program was terminated; he concludes by expressing his disappointment at not having made the most of his opportunities during the program, and not having saved more money.
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Interview with Alberto Mendoza Torres by Violeta Domínguez, 2006, "Interview no. 1053," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.