Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Hector Ponce was born on April 1, 1933, in Valle de Zaragoza, Chihuahua, México; both of his parents worked in agriculture; he was formally educated through the fifth grade; sometime later, he traveled to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, where he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of Nebraska and North Dakota, and he dispensed coal for heaters in Michigan; independent of the program, he also worked for Chevrolet while in Michigan; he later legalized his residency, and he ultimately became a United States citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Ponce very briefly discusses his family and childhood; as a bracero he picked beets in Nebraska, peppers in North Dakota, and dispensed coal for heaters in Michigan; overall, he had great working relationships with his employers; while in Michigan, he was employed by a group of brothers who treated him extremely well; they often invited him into their home, and they offered to help arrange for his residency in the hopes that he would stay to work there permanently; he also relates a story about how his employer in Nebraska was intent on finding him a girlfriend; he goes on to discuss wages, living and working conditions, provisions, language barriers, communication with his family, and community attitudes toward him and other workers; in addition, he describes his experience with immigration personnel; independent of the program, he also worked for Chevrolet while in Michigan; he concludes by commenting on his fondness for the United States and how working with the bracero program changed his life.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Hector Ponce by Karim Ley-Alarcón, 2005, "Interview no. 1091," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.