Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. José Arredondo was born on January 19, 1923, in Amaculí, Durango Municipio de Tamazula, Durango; his mother was a housewife and indigenous to the land; he had 10 siblings, 3 girls and 7 boys, 4 of his siblings died at a young age; he never attended school because he helped his father work in the fields since he was 7 years old.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Arredondo worked on picking lettuce, pears and peaches as well as being a cook and gardener; he worked from 1949 to 1950 in Imperial Valley and from 1953 to 1961 in Yolo; Mr. Arredondo talks about working in agriculture on his father’s land; his father became ill when he was very young, forcing him to work the fields to help support his family; he discusses how he was married to his first wife for 5 months and had his first child; he talks about undergoing medical examinations and being stripped of his clothes and sprayed down as well as having blood test done to ensure he was healthy before being given a contract; he immigrated illegally to the north in 1940 and harvested on alfalfa; he became a bracero in 1949 and held contracts that lasted 18 months; Mr. Arredondo worked 12 hour shifts and never took a day off because he needed the money to support his child; on Sunday’s he would cut hair to get extra income and occasionally would gamble; in one occasion, he won $2000 gambling and was forced to leave due to threats by the opposing players; his second marriage lasted 20 years, of which his wife died of cancer, he had 6 children with his second wife; he later re-married to his third wife in order to have someone care for his children; at the age of 62, Mr. Arredondo joined the United Farmed Workers Union.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Length of Transcript
Interview with José Mario Arredondo Salas by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1290," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.