Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Juan Cossio was born on January 11, 1932, in San Pedro del Gallo, Durango, México, but he grew up in Rodeo, Durango; he was the fourth of nine brothers to be born; his father died when he was only four years old; he had to start working at a very young age in order to provide for his family; in 1952, he was hired as a bracero and continued to work as such until 1964; he worked in Texas picking cotton and irrigating crops and in Colorado and Montana cleaning sugar beet fields.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Cossio recounts the difficulties he faced as a child and during his adolescence; when he heard about the opportunities the Bracero Program provided, he decided to become a bracero; he recalls the hiring process and the contracting center he went through in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, as well as the procedures and medical examinations he underwent in Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas; in addition, he relates his experiences living on the farms, including what they cooked and ate, what happened when someone was sick, what they did in their spare time and on weekends, the different wages he earned, and what he did when his contracts expired; his various jobs included picking cotton and green beans, irrigating crops, and cleaning sugar beet fields; after the Bracero Program ended, he was forced to cross illegally into the United States to work; he concludes that having worked as a bracero enabled him to support and educate his family.
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Interview with Juan Cossio by Laureano Martinez, 2003, "Interview no. 1121," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.