Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ángel M. Moreno was born May 12, 1923, in Mexico, Distrito Federal; he was the fourth born of his six siblings; his father worked on a ranch caring for horses, and although he was never formally educated, he learned and became a veterinarian; in 1944, Ángel enlisted in the bracero program; later that same year, he married a woman who was a US citizen; even so, he continued working with the program until 1947; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona, picking cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower and lettuce; in 1993, Ángel also became a US citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Moreno talks about his family, his hometown and what his life was like growing up; he learned about the bracero program when it began through the newspapers and radio; when he was sixteen years old, he worked at a bakery; after a fight with his boss, he was fired, which prompted him to enlist as a bracero; he describes the requirements and the general questions he had to answer about farming; while waiting at the center, which was in a stadium, there were so many people that a stampede ensued and many were injured; he was eventually transported by train to Arizona; it was so crowded the men had to stand for the entire trip, and they were only given a sack lunch; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona, picking cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower and lettuce; he also goes on to detail the camp size, housing, living conditions, accommodations, provisions, duties, seasonal routines, treatment, payments, deductions, correspondence, contract lengths and renewals and recreational activities, including trips into town and religious services; in 1944, during his first year as a bracero, he married a woman who was a US citizen; even so, he continued working as a bracero, with the same employer, until 1947; when his employer learned he had had married, he was moved to separate living quarters so he and his wife could be alone; moreover, he also relates several other anecdotes about his experiences; later, in 1993, Ángel also became a US citizen; he concludes that having been a bracero changed his life for the better.
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Interview with Angel M. Moreno by Manuel Sanmiguel, 2008, "Interview no. 1357," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.