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
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Luz María Sosa by Anais Acosta, 2006, "Interview no. 1317," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.