Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Antonio Molina R. was born on February 1, 1933, in San José de los Molinas, Jalisco, Mexico; his father worked in agriculture and his mother was a housewife; he had three siblings; his father died in 1941; his stepfather and brother were also braceros; in 1958, he became a bracero and remained working as such until 1961; he worked in the agricultural fields of Arizona and California; he later worked for Holly Sugar Company and the International Union Laborers; he is the father of four daughters and two sons; he is married to Martina Molina.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Antonio Molina R. briefly recalls his childhood and the financial difficulties he and his family endured; when he was ten years old, he helped his family by working as a cobbler; in 1957, he and his wife traveled from Guadalajara to Mexicali, Mexico; in 1958, he traveled to the United States, in search of employment; his goal was to earn one thousand dollars and return to Guadalajara, Mexico to begin a contracting company; he met a representative from CROM and he enlisted in the bracero program; he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he recalls the harsh conditions he and other men endured while waiting there; in 1958, he picked 2000 kilos of cotton and was given a pass to obtain his first contract; he worked in the cotton fields of Somerton, Arizona; after the completion of his first contract, he stayed in the area and worked as a maintenance man at Bruce Church Inc.; he returned to Mexicali, Mexico to be with his family; he later returned to the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he worked in the tomato fields at Rancho Zaragoza; Mexicali, Mexico; his second contract sent him to work in the lemon grooves of Santa Paula, California; he briefly mentions the provisions, duties, payments, deductions, treatment and recreational activities; he recalls that braceros lost their money playing cards, drinking, and on women; he recalls the murder of a fellow bracero, Rufino González; he states that at certain camps, many braceros were hired despite the lack of work; in 1961, he arranged for permanent residency; Mr. Antonio Molina R. concludes that although he did suffer as a bracero, he is proud to have worked with the program.
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Interview with Antonio Molina Rodríguez by Jackie Martínez, 2006, "Interview no. 1322," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.