Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Melitona M. Santacruz was born in Ojocaliente, Zacatecas, México; her father was a campesino, and she had two sisters; as a young girl, she went to school for two years while helping her father work in the fields; sometime later, she met a young man by the name of José Guadalupe de Santacruz Rangel, whom she eventually married; he enlisted in the bracero program and labored in the fields of California irrigating crops; they went on to have twelve children together.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Santacruz talks about meeting her husband, José Guadalupe de Santacruz Rangel, in her home town of Ojocaliente, Zacatecas, México; when she was eighteen years old, they married; he was twenty years old at the time; they lived in Ojocaliente for a few years before he decided to enlist in the bracero program, because he was not earning enough money; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California irrigating crops; he suffered greatly while crossing into the United States, because of the exams he had to endure; after a year, in the program, he sent her money to move to Mexicali, Baja California, México, with their two children; she was able to obtain a legal passport, and they would meet at a park in Calexico, California; they went on to have ten more children in México, twelve in total; José sent roughly two hundred dollars to her every two weeks; Melitona was able to pay rent and feed all their children with that money; she briefly talks about their life after the program; José later died during the early 1990s.
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Interview with Melitona M. Santacruz by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1247," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.