Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Eduardo De Santiago was born on October 13, 1916, in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; he is the fifth of eight brothers and sisters; as a child, he helped his father work in the fields, and he stopped attending school when his father needed more help; he was an elected commissioner of his hometown, which made him responsible for compiling the lists of aspiring braceros for his area; his position led to him enlisting in the bracero program in 1954; as a bracero, he worked in Balmorhea, Texas, for six years, where he weighed and picked cotton; he legalized residency for himself and his family.
Summary of Interview
Mr. De Santiago grew up with his parents, who were agricultural workers, and his seven brothers and sisters; he describes his commissioner position and the way in which he came to enlist as a bracero, in 1954; he was transported from his hometown of Jerez, Zacatecas, México, to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, where he was examined and then transferred to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas; as a bracero, he worked in Balmorhea, Texas, for six years, where he weighed and picked cotton; in addition, he also learned to drive a tractor; he describes his close relationship with the grower, wages, duties, living and working arrangements, and recreational activities; furthermore, he explains how his family came to legalize their residency, which was not that difficult, because although he and his wife met in México, she was born in the United States; sometime after finishing his last contract, he worked at a chile and tomato farm in New Mexico, where he subsequently became the field boss; he concludes by discussing what the term bracero means to him and how happy he was to have worked with the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Eduardo De Santiago by Mireya Loza, 2005, "Interview no. 1099," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.