Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Alvaro Hernández was born on September 21, 1928, in Julimes, Chihuahua, México; his father worked in agriculture and his mother was a teacher; he moved to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, where he went to school for a short time, but he returned to his hometown to help his father work in the fields; in 1943, when he was only fourteen years old, he came into the United States illegally; a few years later, in 1946, he became a bracero and worked primarily in the cotton fields of New Mexico and Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Hernández briefly recalls his childhood and the financial difficulties he and his family endured; he moved from Julimes, Chihuahua, to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, where he went to school up to the sixth grade, but he left school in order to go back to his hometown of Julimes to help his father work in the fields; in 1943, when he was fourteen years old, he crossed into the United States illegally; he spent a few months working in the cotton fields of Mesquite, New Mexico, and soon returned home; in 1944, he crossed again to work with the same rancher, and the following year, he went back home; two years later, in 1946, he went through the hiring process to become a bracero; he recalls that one of the requirements for the braceros was to have calloused hands; as part of the process, he was medically examined, vaccinated, and deloused; his first contract took him to work in the cotton fields of Pecos, Texas; in 1947, a new working contract took him to Doña Ana where he stayed working until 1949; later that same year, he married and was able to bring his wife with him to the ranch in Doña Ana; he eventually learned how to work the cotton machines and was in charge of one of them; Mr. Hernández concludes that he is very proud to have worked with the Bracero Program.
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Interview with Alvaro Hernández B. by Myrna Parra-Mantilla, 2003, "Interview no. 1131," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.