Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Froylan Huerta was born on July 14, 1941, in Huaniqueo de Morales, Michoacán, México; he had three sisters and two brothers; his parents were campesinos, but his father also owned a bar, which proved to be the family’s main source of income; by the time he was roughly seven years old, he had learned to work the land; he was not formally educated for very long, but he did learn to read and write; during the sixties he worked illegally in the United States, but he was later able to obtain legal documentation.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Huerta briefly describes his family and what it was like growing up in a small town; he recalls that in order to get on the list of available workers in Empalme, Sonora, México, he had to pay between six and eight hundred pesos and wait one or two months to be called; while there he worked washing dishes at a restaurant in exchange for food; he explains the entire process he underwent, including medical exams; from there he was transported in a train, like an animal, to Mexicali, Baja California, México; he also describes the centers he passed through and being deloused; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of Arizona and California; he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, amenities, living arrangements, provisions, daily routines, duties, treatment, payments, remittances, and recreational activities, including trips into town; in addition, he gives a detailed explanation of the work involved in picking onions; one of the foremen he worked with even took him to see lucha libre, and he got hooked on it; he also mentions that on payday, some of the men would spend the entire weekend dancing and drinking; they would show up hungover for work on Monday morning; after the program ended he returned to México, but soon after, he began working illegally in the United States; he later married, and his wife helped him obtain legal documentation; overall, his memories of the bracero program are positive, especially because he was able to save money.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Froylan Huerta by Anaís Acosta, 2006, "Interview no. 1153," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.