Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Roberto Almaraz Valdivia was born in Tabasco, Zacatecas, México, but raised in Villanueva, Zacatecas; his parents worked in agriculture, and he had four sisters and three brothers; he was formally schooled through the fourth grade; when he was roughly twelve years old, he began working in agriculture as well; in 1952, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in California, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking beans, beets, cotton, cucumber, grapefruits, limes, oranges, and tomatoes; he continued working with the program until 1960.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Almaraz briefly discusses his family and childhood; in 1952, he enlisted in the bracero program in Villanueva, Zacatecas, México; from there, he traveled to the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México; he mentions the physical examinations and delousing process he underwent as part of the contracting process; from Empalme he was taken to El Centro, California, which is where the ranchers chose the workers they wanted; while there, the workers also signed their contracts, which were initially for forty days, but they could be extended for six month periods at a time, until they had completed eighteen months of work in total; as a bracero, he worked in California, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking beans, beets, cotton, cucumber, grapefruits, limes, oranges, and tomatoes; he goes on to discuss the various work-sites, duties, living conditions, provisions, payment methods, and recreational activities; in addition, he describes the letters he sent home to his mother and girlfriend, whom he later married in 1957; while in Oxnard, California, he became good friends with the foreman, and he eventually worked his way up to second in command; he was later able to get permission to rent a small house with other co-workers; he continued working with the program until 1960.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Roberto Almazar Valdivia by Argelia Morales, 2005, "Interview no. 1263," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.