Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Guadalupe Durán was born March 9, 1942, in Jalpa, Zacatecas, México; his father worked in the fields growing beans and corn, and his mother was a housewife; he had four brothers and three sisters; by the time he was eight years old, he began laboring in the fields; he helped care for his younger siblings, and consequently, he received very little education; later, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he worked in the fields of California cleaning, pruning and picking beets, cantaloupes, chiles, lettuce and tomatoes; in 1967, he married, and the following year he obtained legal status in the United States; in 1996, he became a U.S. citizen; he and his wife went on to have three children and four grandchildren.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Durán briefly talks about his parents and siblings; growing up, he worked in the fields, but he eventually had to go to Sonora, México, because there was not enough work at home; while there, he picked two thousand kilograms of cotton, and he was able to obtain the necessary documents to enlist in the bracero program; he went through the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México; from there he was transported to Mexicali, Baja California, México and then to Calexico, California, where he was stripped, examined and deloused; he comments that he was treated badly when he crossed into the United States; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of California cleaning, pruning and picking beets, cantaloupes, chiles, lettuce and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payment, remittances, correspondence and recreational activities, including trips into town; moreover, he explains that he had to pack over one hundred boxes of tomatoes a day just to make between fifteen and twenty dollars; although he did send money home often, he also liked to buy clothes and shoes for himself; he also discusses his life after the program, including obtaining a local passport; in 1967, he married, and the following year he obtained legal resident status in the United States; in 1996, he became a U.S. citizen; he and his wife went on to have three children and four grandchildren.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Service
Interview with Guadalupe Durán by Danielle Healey, 2008, "Interview no. 1411," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.