Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Antonio García B. was born on August 9, 1934, in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico; he had five siblings; both his parents passed away by the time Mr. García was six years old; as a young boy he helped his family by working in the fields; he was formally educated through the third grade; later, in 1954, he became a bracero and worked in the agricultural fields of Texas and California; one of his brothers was also a bracero; his last bracero contract was in 1961.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Antonio García B. briefly recalls his childhood and the financial difficulties he and his siblings endured; he remembers hearing stories about the bracero program and he decided to enlist; in 1954, he went through the hiring process to become a bracero; he recalls the entire process, lists of eligible workers, waiting times, and transportation to and from the center; he recalls that one of the requirements for the braceros was to have calloused hands; in addition, he mentions going through the centers in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; he also describes the medical exams and required documents; his first contract took him to work in the cotton fields of Texas; he returned to Mexico and renewed his contract in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico; in 1955, while married for only twenty-eight days, he returned to Lamesa, Texas for a second contract; his duties entailed irrigation and picking cotton; he worked nine hour shifts, six days a week; he earned four dollars and fifty cents a day; he briefly details the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions, remittances, treatment, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; many braceros would go to the movies, play cards, drink, and gamble nearly every weekend; his third contract took him to work in the strawberry fields of Watsonville, California; his forth contract took him to work in the asparagus fields in the San Joaquin Valley; many braceros used a short-handled hoe and were ordered to remain stooped over while working in the fields; during one of his contracts, Mr. García B. recalls that the braceros were not paid on time; for this reason, his family struggled to pay the bills in Mexico; he mentions the emotional hardship his family endured while he was working as a bracero; in 1962, he was able to legally emigrate to the United States; he concludes that he is proud to have worked with the Bracero Program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Antonio García B. by Grisel Murillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1325," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.