Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Primitivo Bustamante was born on June 10, 1952, in Coahuila, México; he had four brothers and four sisters; his father worked as a bracero during the late fifties in California, New Mexico, and Texas; despite being encouraged by his father to attend school, he left after the sixth grade, because he didn’t like it; his father eventually returned to México where he continued working in agriculture; Primitivo immigrated to the United States in the seventies, and consequently, all his children were born there as well.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Bustamante discusses his family and childhood; during the late fifties, when he was about five or six years old, his father worked as a bracero in California, New Mexico, and Texas; as a young boy, he recalls his father explaining what it meant to be a bracero; despite being encouraged by his father to attend school, he left after the sixth grade, because he didn’t like it; he goes on to describe his father as a very hard working man who never let his family go without and who constantly set a good example for him; although his father could not read or write, he always found someone to read and write letters for him; he would also send money orders home via registered mail; with the money he sent, his wife was able to buy beds, tables, chairs, and other such furnishings for their home; when he returned to México, he would bring gifts for his children and stay for about three or four months before leaving to work again; on one occasion, his wife went with him to Texas and had a child while there, but she returned to México shortly thereafter; he eventually returned to México, where he continued working in agriculture; Primitivo immigrated to the United States during he seventies, and consequently, all his children were born there as well; he concludes by describing how proud he is of his father and his legacy of hard work.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Primitivo Bustamante by Myrna García, 2005, "Interview no. 1266," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.