Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jesus Hernandez was born on August 28, 1920, in San Felipe, Guanajuato, México; he had eight siblings, and together they grew up with their parents on a farm; at a very young age, he began helping his father work the land and care for the animals; he never received any formal schooling; in 1944, he went to México, Distrito Federal, to begin the enrollment process for the Bracero Program; two years later, after his contract expired, he crossed into Texas illegally in order to work; in 1958, he was contracted again as a bracero, and he worked in California.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Hernandez briefly recounts his childhood and adolescence growing up on a farm; he would often help his father work the land and care for the animals; in 1944, he went to México, Distrito Federal, to begin the enrollment process for the Bracero Program; he describes the processing center and the various procedures he underwent there, including the medical exams and the train trip to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México; as a bracero, he picked cotton as well as a range of fruits and vegetables; he goes on to describe his daily routine, the living arrangements, what he did during his free time, the medical benefits, and the overall treatment he received; one of his employers even offered to arrange for him to stay in the United States permanently, but he refused; he instead returned to México, and shortly thereafter he was married; later in 1946, he entered the U.S. illegally through Texas, and he stayed for a year; in 1949, he again returned, but was caught by immigration officials and sent back to México; several years later in 1958, he went through the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and he worked in California; he was ultimately able to emigrate to the U.S. with his wife and children.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with J. Jesus Hernandez Medrano by Anais Acosta, 2005, "Interview no. 1101," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.