Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Juan H. Perez was born November 30, 1925, in San Francisco del Rincón, Guanajuato, México; his parents were campesinos on their own land; he was never formally educated, because there was no money for him to go to school; when he was sixteen years old, he came to the United States to work without proper documentation; he waited until he was old enough to enlist in the bracero program; when he was twenty-five years old, he married; his first wife died, and he later remarried in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Perez briefly talks about his family; he initially learned about the bracero program when he was fourteen years old, but he was not old enough to enlist; instead, he decided to come to the United States to work without proper documentation when he was sixteen years old; his grandmother lived on the border between Mexicali, Baja California, México and Calexico, California, which was how he crossed over; with the money he earned he was able to help his parents and siblings in México; once he was old enough, he enlisted as a bracero; when he crossed into the United States, he was stripped and deloused, which he remembers as very sad; before going out to the fields for work he and the other men were fed; on Sundays, his day off, he often went to church while others went to bars; he describes his interactions with others as very reserved, as though they were in a school; if they behaved, they were treated well; after his time as a bracero, he returned to México; oftentimes, he spoke with other men about their experiences with the program and what life was like for them; when he was twenty-five years old, he married; his first wife died, and he later remarried in the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Juan H. Perez by Mireya Loza, 2006, "Interview no. 1237," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.