Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Luis Estrada E. was born in 1953; he was the third born of his seven siblings; the year after he was born, his father, Miguel, enlisted in the bracero program; while he was gone, the family stayed in Michoacán, México; years later, Luis married and had two children in México; he eventually immigrated to the United States with them, and he went on to have three more.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Estrada explains that the year after he was born, his father, Miguel, enlisted in the bracero program; Luis recalls his father leaving for the United States; the family went to the bus station in town that was three hours away; he would not let go of his father, which he knows made him feel bad; his father left in order to find better opportunities for his children; Miguel traveled by bus from Michoacán to Sonora, México, with his brother, where they suffered greatly to get the necessary papers to enlist; his brother regretted ever going, because they endured so much; as a bracero, Miguel picked lettuce with a short hoe, which was extremely strenuous, because he had to stay hunched over all day; Luis remembers that a family friend owned a store in town and allowed the family to get whatever they needed while his father was gone; eventually, they had difficulties, because they needed so much; even so, he was so young, that he did not really understand the severity of the situation; over time, with the money Miguel saved, the family was able to buy a butcher shop in México; when he went home, he took gifts like jackets and belts; he also took toilet paper, but no one understood how to use it until much later; Luis helped his father gather animals for the shop and learned how to run the business; he likens his father’s experiences as a bracero to those he had while working in the United States; he also offers several anecdotes about his life while working in the United States and México; Luis eventually married and had two children in México; he later immigrated to the United States with them, and he went on to have three more.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Luis Estrada E. by Susana Salgado, 2006, "Interview no. 1076," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.