Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Asterio L. León was born on October 27, 1927, in Palmar de Sepúlvedas, Sinaloa, México; he is the oldest of eleven siblings; his parents worked in agriculture, and he began working with them from an early age; he completed formal schooling until the third grade; in 1950, he joined the bracero program, and worked as a bracero on and off until 1962; he worked in California picking cotton, grapefruit, and oranges.
Summary of Interview
Mr. León remembers growing up in Palmar de Sepúlvedas, Sinaloa, México; he discusses how he started working in agriculture at an early age, and how he was able to get formal school until the third grade; furthermore, he recalls how he heard about the bracero program, how he got his first contract after being an undocumented worker in Blythe, California, and how his boss there helped him acquire the contract; he explains how contracting occurred in Empalme, Sonora, México, how potential braceros waited sometimes for months to get contracted, and how he paid coyotes to get on the list for contracts; additionally, he states what the trip to the border was like, how the processing center in El Centro, California worked, and the medical exams he went through; he recounts that he was able to avoid fumigation by stating to the person conducting it that he did not want to get his suit dirty and that he would just leave; he states that the fumigator let him through without fumigating; in 1950, he joined the bracero program, and worked as a bracero on and off until 1962; he worked in California picking cotton, grapefruit, and oranges; moreover, he relates what daily life was like on the farms, the treatment he received from foremen, and the work he did.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Asterio L. León by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1194," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.