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
Length of Transcript
Interview with Jose E. Chavarría by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1122," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.