Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mrs. Rosa María Navarro Quemé was born on September 30, 1950, in Rio Grande, Zacatecas; she is the eldest of eleven siblings; her mother was orphaned at the age of three; she was a housewife, and her father worked in agriculture; her father was a bracero from 1942-1959; in 1949, her father married her mother; Rosa María did not have any formal education; all of the documentation that her father kept from his time working as a bracero was ruined during the raining season; however, the records at Mexicali and Calexico indicate that he was a bracero; he is registered as Genaro Navarro Segovia; his full name was Eulogio Genaro Navarro Segovia; her father contracted by a company known as “El Grey”; he worked in Salinas, Coachella, Brawley and Fresno, California; he also worked in Phoenix, Arizona; her father died at the age of seventy-five.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Navarro Quemé briefly recalls her childhood and the financial difficulties she and her family endured; at the age of five, she began picking cotton to supplement the family’s income; her mother took in laundry on the occasion that her father did not send money home while working as a bracero; Mrs. Navarro Quemé discusses the American Consul’s notification of her father’s hospitalization; she says that her father told them that the braceros were made to donate blood every eight days so that it could be sent to the soldiers fighting in WWII; she suspects that his illness was caused by this practice; she recalls that her father did not visit them often while working as a bracero; he was not able to return despite the death of his two-year-old daughter; she states that her father used a short-handled hoe while working in the lettuce fields; in addition, her father was allowed to stay and work as a foreman after his contracts expired; after his last contract, Mr. Navarro Segovia worked in the fields of Mexicali, Mexico; Mrs. Navarro Quemé discusses how she helped her father in the fields; in addition, Mrs. Navarro Quemé discusses the ten percent monetary deductions taken from the braceros; she gives her opinion of both the United States government and the Mexican government and the role she thinks they both played in exploiting the braceros.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Rosa María Navarro by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1304," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.