Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Vicente Ramírez was born on April 5, 1930, in Santa Rosa de Juárez, Oaxaca, México; he had two siblings; he was formally educated through the first grade; he had to support his family because his father died when Mr. Ramírez was very young; he worked in agriculture and later he worked in home construction; in 1955 he was living in Oaxaca when he heard about the bracero program; he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, México; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Salinas, California picking lettuce.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Ramírez briefly recalls his childhood and the financial difficulties his family endured; in 1955 he heard about a call for braceros and decided to quit his job for the chance to work in the United States; he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, México; he details the harsh conditions he and other men endured while waiting there; in addition, he talks about how painful the physical exams were and how rudely they were conducted; as a bracero, he completed several contracts and labored in the fields of Salinas, California; he briefly details the living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions, remittances, treatment, friendships, and recreational activities; he recalls that the braceros were allowed time off on 16 de septiembre; although he did suffer as a bracero, his overall memories of the program are positive; Mr. Ramírez concludes that he is very proud to be called a bracero.
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Interview with Vicente Ramírez by Steve Velásquez, 2005, "Interview no. 1117," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.