Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mrs. Luz María Sosa was born on October 20, 1944, in Cosalá, Sinaloa, Mexico; she is one of four children born to Manuel Labrada and Trinidad Tañes; her parents owned livestock and worked in agriculture; she was formally educated through middle school; her father joined the bracero program when she was twelve yrs old; her father’s first contract was in Indio, California picking grapes, lettuce, and strawberries; he also worked in Stockton, Oxnard, and Salinas, California; her father’s last contract was in 1964; Mrs. Luz María Sosa now resides in Calexico, California.
Summary of Interview
Mrs. Sosa briefly recalls her family and childhood; she remembers hearing stories about her father working in the United States; she recalls that when her father first heard about the bracero program he rode his horse to the neighboring town to invite and encourage other men to enlist; she briefly details the process, including lists of eligible workers and modes of transportation to and from the center; her father travelled by bus to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; Mrs. Sosa states that many of the men went without eating so as not to lose their place in line; her father and other men were forced to pick cotton in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; her father was contracted in Empalme and entered the United States through Caléxico; as part of the process, her father was medically examined and fumigated; he told her that a friend of his was detained by immigration officials for several days and when he returned to the camp, his head had been shaved; she recalls that he labored in the fields of California picking grapes, lettuce, and strawberries; he worked eight hours a day, six days a week; he would send money home as often as possible; Mrs. Sosa recalls that her father was upset that a doll he purchased for her was taken away by officials in Sonorita; he also bought her a typewriter because he wanted her to study; she briefly mentions the ten percent pay deductions and how they had hoped to receive it; she states that although her father did suffer as a bracero, his overall memories of the program were positive
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Interview with Luz María Sosa by Anais Acosta, 2006, "Interview no. 1317," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.