Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Agustin Bautista was born in Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México; he is the youngest sibling in his family; in 1943, he joined the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Texas on the railroads; he also picked cotton, lemons and strawberries.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Agustin Bautista recalls growing up in Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México; he states that he is the youngest sibling in his family; additionally, he explains that he was contracted for the first time on 1943, at Empalme, Sonora, México; he details how the contracting and processing of braceros was done, the treatment they received in Empalme, and how they were transported to the United States-México border; furthermore, he explains how officials had braceros shave their heads before crossing into the United States to prevent lice from spreading and how they were deloused; he relates how he worked in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Texas on the railroads and picking cotton, lemons, and strawberries; moreover, he states the work that he did while working on railroad tracks, how hard it was, and the dangers of it; he also describes what daily life was like for braceros, the living quarters they had, the food they ate, and what they did for recreation; in addition, he relates the difficulty of the agricultural work braceros did, the pay they received and the deductions made to his paycheck for food; furthermore, he states how he received ten percent of his paycheck that had been deducted for savings when he returned to México in between contracting; he clarifies that this only happened once, though; to conclude, he recounts how he returned to the United States as a legal migrant after the program ended.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with Agustin Bautista by Mario Sifuentes, 2006, "Interview no. 1206," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.