Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jose E. Chavarría was born in San Pedro de las Colonias, Coahuila, México, but grew up in Torreón, Coahuila; when he was very young, his father killed his mother, and he fled from home; he went to live with his grandmother, but the rest of his family soon split up; in 1947, he became a bracero and remained working as such until 1950; he worked in New Mexico and Texas picking cotton.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Chavarría briefly describes his childhood; when he was very young, his father killed his mother, and he fled from home; he went to live with his grandmother, but the rest of his family soon split up; shortly thereafter, he went to work on a dairy farm where the rancher not only employed him, but treated him like a son; in 1947, he went through the hiring process and became a bracero; upon being hired, he was sent to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, where he underwent medical examinations; he details his first job picking cotton and what that entailed; in addition, he describes the housing conditions and the various foods that they cooked and ate; many braceros would play cards, drink, and gamble nearly every weekend; he was invited to play, but lost all of his money, which later developed into a bad habit for him and other braceros as well; he later recounts how some braceros were tricked and often stolen from.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Interview with Jose E. Chavarría by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1122," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.