Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Carmen Garcia de Lua was born on November 21, 1947, in San Gregorio, Michoacán, Mexico; she had thirteen siblings; her father was a bracero and her mother was a housewife; in 1962, at the age of fourteen, Carmen married a man named Rafael Lua; they had eight children; Mr. Lua was a bracero from 1942-62; Mr. Lua worked in Calexico, California and in Yuba, California; in addition, Mr. Lua worked for the National Park Service in Washington State; in 1995, Mr. Rafael Lua died at the age of sixty-nine; Mrs. Carmen Lua subsequently married a man named Martin, who worked as a bracero in 1956; Mrs. Lua resides in San Marcos, California.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Lua discusses her childhood and the financial difficulties she and her family endured; several of her siblings died of hunger; Carmen’s mother moved from San Gregorio, Michoacan, Mexico, to Mexicali, Mexico, in order to be close to her husband who was working as a bracero in the U.S.; Mrs. Lua recalls that her father rarely sent money home; consequently, her mother took in other people’s laundry to support the family; Carmen also helped her family by washing dishes in order to supplement the family’s income, as a result, she never received any formal schooling; in 1942, Mr. Lua traveled to Mexico City, Mexico to join the bracero program; from there, he traveled to a processing center; Mrs. Lua does not remember the name of the center; Mr. Rafael Lua was no longer working as a bracero when Carmen and he married; he traveled back and forth between the U.S. and Mexicali, Mexico and used someone else’s passport in order to obtain employment; she and their children lived in Paderones, Mexico while Mr. Lua worked in Yuba City, California; in 1969, her husband was involved in an accident in Yuba City and was in a coma for four days; he recovered and he sent for Mrs. Lua and their children; the family lived in the U.S. since 1970, however, they did not obtain permanent resident status until 1978; Mrs. Lua briefly discusses working in the fields picking peaches, pecans, plums, and grapes; her second husband, Martin, joined the bracero program in 1956; upon completing his contract, Martin did not return to Mexico.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Carmen Lua by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1299," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.