Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Pedro de Alba G. was born June 7, 1935, in Atotonilquillo, Jalisco, México, but he was raised in Acatlán de Juárez, Jalisco; his parents were campesinos, and he had two brothers and one half brother; Pedro was formally educated through the second grade; growing up, he helped care for animals; in 1955, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Texas, cleaning, pruning and picking carrots, cotton, lettuce and tomatoes; one of his brothers was also a bracero; in 1957, Pedro married and continued with the program for a few more years.
Summary of Interview
Mr. de Alba recalls that people went into town to recruit for the bracero program; his parents encouraged him to join, and in 1955, he enlisted; one of his brothers was also a bracero, and they worked together twice; Pedro went through contracting centers in Monterrey, Nuevo León and Empalme, Sonora, México; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California and Texas, cleaning, pruning and picking carrots, cotton, lettuce and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, correspondence and recreational activities, including trips into town and religious services; in Texas, the camps were completely isolated from the town, which once resulted in him and a friend getting lost; there was also a protest over pay that led to half of the camp leaving; he decided to stay, because he needed the work; in California, a few women also worked in the fields with the men; he also offers a detailed description of his various duties, including using the short hoe, which was extremely arduous; he once became very ill with fever and chills, and he spent eight days in the hospital; one of his employers even offered to help him arrange legal status, but he refused, which he later regretted; in 1957, he married and continued as a bracero for a few more years; additionally, he briefly mentions his life after the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Pedro de Alba G. by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1073," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.