Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Isidoro Ramírez was born on April 4, 1935, in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, México; he is one of thirteen siblings; at an early age, he began working in agriculture; in 1956, he joined the Bracero Program; he worked in California picking tomatoes.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Ramírez recalls growing up in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, México, and attending formal schooling for a brief period; he states that his parents worked in agriculture, and that he began laboring with them at an early age; additionally, he remembers hearing about the Bracero Program from men who had returned from the Unites States, and deciding to enlist at age twenty-one; he details his experience in the contracting center of Empalme, Sonora, México, how he had to wait three weeks to sign his contract, and the humiliation of the medical exams; furthermore, he describes his trip to the border, and the process he went through at the reception center in El Centro, California; he worked in California picking tomatoes; moreover, he explains that once they arrived at the reception center, they were picked by foremen as if they were cattle; he continues to outline what daily life was like on the farms, what braceros did during their time off, and where they lived; while discussing his work, he expressed that while he waited for new contracts to be assigned, he would go to San Francisco to work as a garbage man; he concludes by stating that his memories of the program are very negative, and that he suffered much abuse, and a low standard of living while working as a bracero.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Isidoro Ramírez by Steve Velásquez, 2005, "Interview no. 1116," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.