Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ángel Guzmán Domínguez was born on October 14, 1924; his mother was a housewife, and his father sold Singer sewing machines; Ángel was formally educated through the fourth grade; he later learned how to make shoes and made a living with his trade; one of his uncles served in the bracero program, which convinced him to do the same; in 1944, Ángel joined the program and worked throughout the United States in the fields and on the railroads until 1949.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Guzmán talks about growing up, including his family and learning how to make shoes; one of his uncles served in the bracero program, which convinced him to do the same; in 1944, he and five of his friends traveled by boat, bus and train before finally arriving at the contacting station in Queretaro, México; with the proper documentation, he was quickly called and passed all the medical exams; he explains that the men in Queretaro went straight to the railroads, while those processed in Guanajuato, México, went to work in the fields; from the contracting center he was transported by train to the United States and given a sack lunch consisting of a sandwich and an apple or orange; as a bracero, while he was in the South he labored in the fields, and while in the North he worked on the railroads; moreover, he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, remittances, correspondence, contract renewals, working relationships, and recreational activities; he remembers how much he loved to go dancing and how he even learned American dances like the Jitterbug and Swing; while in Baltimore, Maryland, he also became a skilled driver of trucks and tractors; he also mentions that Mexican officials often went to inspect the conditions of the camps; furthermore, when he worked near a Mexican consulate, he often received Mexican magazines and other goods; in addition to working with other braceros, he also labored side by side with African Americans, Native Americans and Filipinos; he continued with the program until 1949.
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Interview with Ángel Guzmán Domínguez by Alma Carrillo, 2007, "Interview no. 1393," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.