Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Chávez Romo was born on November 19, 1949, in Mexicali, Baja California; he had 13 siblings, of which only his sister and him remain; his father became a bracero in 1951; his mother was a housewife who took care of the small land they had which included a handful of chickens and three cows.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Romo describes moving at a young age to San Juan de los Lagos because his father was going to help them get residency in the United States; he talks about growing up poor and that 11 of his siblings died because of the harsh winter conditions; at the age of 16 Mr. Romo attended school in Zacatecas where he studied to become a welder; he talks about his mother raising him and taking care of the few chickens and cows they had in order to survive; Mr. Romo speaks highly of his father and is very proud that his father was a bracer and states that his father was of great character because he worked an honest difficult job just to care for him; Mr. Romo’s father was a bracero from 1951 to 1956 in which he picked cotton and beetroot; as a bracer, Mr. Romo states that his father was humiliated, stripped from his clothes and fumigated when applying for contracts; Mr. Romo speaks of how his father never became a U.S. Citizen because he lost all his papers and died before he had the chance to gain them back.
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Interview with Manuel Chávez Romo by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1293," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.