Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Nabor Solorio Lara was born in 1937, in La Piedad, Michoacán, México; his father died when he was young; shortly after, in 1944, the family moved to Baja California, México; three years later, his mother passed away, and he was raised by his grandparents; when he was fourteen years old, he worked in the United States without documents; in 1958, he married, and a year later he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in Arizona and California, picking and packing carrots, cotton, lettuce and tomatoes; he ultimately obtained legal documentation through amnesty and was able to help his family do the same.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Solorio briefly talks about his family; in 1958, he married, and a year later he decided to enlist in the bracero program; he went through the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México; there were long waiting lines, and he had to sleep on his shoes at night so they would not get stolen; as part of the process, he was stripped and medically examined on both sides of the border, but he was also deloused in the United States; as a bracero, he labored in Arizona and California, picking and packing carrots, cotton, lettuce and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, friendships, contract lengths and renewals, working relationships and recreational activities, including trips into town; in addition, he offers detailed descriptions of contract and hourly pay and payment received for various crops; he also explains that the first part of a contract was always difficult, because it usually took a month or two to send any money home due to all the initial deductions; in Stockton and King City, California, man of the men were sick, because they were not accustomed to the food; on two occasions, he worked for Christmas, but he was able to celebrate 16 de Septiembre while in Salinas, California; he also offers several other anecdotes about his experiences as a bracero; he ultimately obtained legal documentation through amnesty and was able to help his family do the same.
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Interview with Nabor Solorio Lara by Adriana Sandoval, 2006, "Interview no. 1249," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.