Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Aurelio Pereída Rodarte was born on January 13, 1925, in México; when he was only two years old, his mother passed away; his father was often gone and remarried four other times; consequently, Aurelio grew up alone; when he was eight years old, he began working in the fields; he was never formally educated, but he later learned to read and write as an adult; for a time, he worked illegally in the United States; during the late forties, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he worked in the fields of Arizona, Arkansas, California, and Texas, picking beets, cantaloupe, cotton, dates, potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Pereída recounts the various difficulties he faced during his childhood and adolescence; he was married by the time he was seventeen years old, and he had a tumultuous relationship with his wife; after they separated, he took on full responsibility for both of his children; prior to enlisting in the bracero program during the late forties he worked illegally in Texas; he chronicles going through processing centers in Chihuahua and Sonora, México, and being transported in cargo trains used to carry coal; in addition, he also underwent medical examinations and delousing procedures; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of Arizona, Arkansas, California, and Texas, picking beets, cantaloupe, cotton, dates, potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon; he goes on to detail the worksites, living amenities, duties, payments, deductions, provisions, daily routines, working relationships, treatment, and recreational activities; moreover, he briefly mentions an accident in which a train and bus collided and half of the people died; consequently, the company went bankrupt after having to pay the families of the deceased workers; he also describes charging 50¢ to cut hair for other braceros on Saturdays before they went into town, which did not leave much time for him to rest; after the program ended he returned to México, and he was later able to legally immigrate to the United States.
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Interview with Aurelio Pereída Rodarte by Mónica Pelayo, 2006, "Interview no. 1157," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.