Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Santos Alejandro González was born on an ejido in Galeana, Nuevo León, México, on October 27, 1934; he is the eldest of his twelve brothers and sisters; his parents worked in agriculture and sold goods; he was formally educated only through the primary grades, but his younger siblings had greater opportunities for an education; in 1954, he obtained a bracero contract; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arkansas, Michigan and Texas, picking an assortment of fruits and vegetables; he continued working on and off with the bracero program until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. González talks about growing up on an ejido and the various difficulties he and his family faced; in 1952, he and his cousin came to work in the United States without documents, because they did not know about the bracero program; two years later, in 1954, Santos was able to enlist as a bracero in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; the contracting process was especially difficult due to the examinations and delousing procedures he underwent; he describes how he and other men suffered and how they were treated like rented animals; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arkansas, Michigan and Texas, picking an assortment of fruits and vegetables; he goes on to detail payments, duties, treatment, correspondence and the various worksites along with corresponding years; in addition, he explains that from 1954 to 1956, he worked in Alamo, Texas on a special contract; in 1957, a week after arriving in Lamesa, Texas, he began experiencing severe abdominal pain resulting in his appendix being removed; all the hospital expenses were paid, and he returned to work weighing cotton; while in Arkansas, he befriended an eleven year old boy and taught him how to speak Spanish; he continued working on and off with the program until 1964; although he had the opportunity to arrange for legal status in the United States, he decided it was not for him; with the money he saved, he was able to buy land and build a home; overall, he has positive memories of having worked as a bracero.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Santos Alejandro González by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1425," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.