Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Félix Loera Carrillo was born in Calvillo, Aguascalientes, México; he had one brother and one sister; his parents were campesinos on an hacienda; when he was still very young, his father passed away; by the time Félix was five years old, he was working in the fields by helping sow the seeds; for a time, he worked without documents in the United States, but he returned to México and eventually married; during the late fifties, he enlisted in the bracero program and labored in the fields of Arizona, Arkansas, California and Mississippi.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Loera briefly describes his family and how they worked on an hacienda, but they did not live there; when he was seventeen years old, he came to the United States to work, without documents, in the hope of having a better life; after two years, he returned to México and shortly thereafter married; by the late fifties, he and his wife had two children and were struggling to make ends meet, which led to his decision to enlist in the bracero program; although most men had to pay to get on the list of available workers, he knew someone in charge who helped him; he describes the various methods of transportation he used to get to Mexicali, Baja California, México, where the medical exams he underwent were especially grueling; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arizona, Arkansas, California and Mississippi, cleaning, pruning and picking cotton, lemons, lettuce and oranges; he goes on to chronicle the various worksites, camp sizes, living conditions, amenities, provisions, duties, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, contract lengths, working relationships, correspondence, and recreational activities; moreover, he mentions that it was difficult to save money to send home, because he worked for such a short amount of time; he explains that while in San Bernardino, California, his extended family in Los Angeles would pick him up at the camp for visits; after the program ended in 1964, he returned to México.
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Interview with Félix Loera Carrillo by Mireya Loza, 2007, "Interview no. 1394," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.