Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jose Espinoza was born on January 20, 1939, in Coalcomán, Michoacán; he had a total of 5 brothers and 4 sisters; both of his parents were farmers who harvested garbanzo beans and corn; Mr. Espinoza attended school until the 4th grade when he dropped out to help out his parents.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Espinoza recalls the harsh conditions he experienced while growing up in Coalcomán, Michoacán; at an early age he started working with his parents harvesting corn and beans; Mr. Espinoza became a Bracero in the year of 1957, he came to the United States to work along with 3 home town friends; he remembers traveling by train along with many others, Mr. Espinoza recalls getting stripped of his clothes and fumigated in Caléxico, California; Mr. Espinoza remembers having some of his personal belongings taken away because they were not allowed to bring anything besides the clothes they had on; Mr. Espinoza remembers harvesting pears and having to carry a heavy 15 foot ladder from tree to tree; he states that he worked 10 hour shifts and got paid $0.35 an hour; Mr. Espinoza never participated in any patriotic celebrations because work was very demanding and he preferred to rest during his spare time; Mr. Espinoza does not have a good nor bad experience of the Bracero program, stating it was just a way to make a living.
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Interview with Jose M. Espinoza by Alejandra Valles, 2008, "Interview no. 1342," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.