Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Juan Torres was born on January 23, 1941, in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, México; his father was a farmer, and he was the fourth eldest in a family of eleven; when he was thirteen years old, he went to school for only a year; his first job was helping his father work on the farm; he later worked as a gardener and in construction; in 1959, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking asparagus, beets, cotton, cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries; he continued working with the program until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Torres recalls his family and childhood; he also discusses his adolescence, and the various types of work he performed; in 1959, he decided to enlist in the Bracero Program; he signed his first work contract in Hidalgo, Texas, which took him to work in Raymondville, Texas; while there he picked cotton for the first time in his life; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking asparagus, beets, cotton, cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries; he goes on to describe the various things he would do in his free time, such as go to church, the movies, or into town to shop; in spite of his excursions, he would often send money home to his family; although he was generally in good health, he recalls one instance in which he had infection he believes he caught from picking cucumbers; he was taken to a doctor and prescribed medication that alleviated the infection; when the program ended in 1964, he returned to his hometown of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, México; he continued working in the fields there, but he also went to school and learned how to fix tractors; sometime later, he came into the United States illegally to work; although he was deported, he returned and continued to work as farm laborer.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Juan Torres Briones by Violeta Dominguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1063," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.