Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Imelda Díaz Pacheco was born on January 20, 1940, in San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, Oaxaca, México; she was the eldest of her three sisters and three brothers; her father worked in the mountains chopping wood; she was formally educated through the third grade; in 1955, at the age of fifteen, she married Ausencio Medina López; they went on to have eleven children, two of whom passed away; Ausencio served in the bracero program from 1956 to 1961; he later died on March 28, 1994.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Díaz briefly describes her family; in 1955, at the age of fifteen, she married Ausencio Medina López; she talks about Ausencio and how during their courtship they did not actually speak to each other; everything took place through their parents; after they married, they went to live with his parents; she stayed at home with her mother-in-law to attend to the household chores, and he worked with his father in the fields; a year later, economic necessity drove Ausencio to enlist in the bracero program at the request of his wife and father; he served in the bracero program from 1956 to 1961; Imelda explains that letters took roughly one month to arrive; Ausencio sent what little money he could, and his father saved as much as he could in the hope of buying land; with Ausencio gone, everyone had more responsibilities; Imelda had to learn how to help her father-in-law work in the fields; she also mentions that she did not have any friends, because her in-laws did not approve; her mother-in-law would go into town to sell the tortillas they made while she stayed home to finish chores; when Ausencio finally did return home, they were all very happy, and he even brought gifts of clothing; he ultimately stopped working as a bracero, because his father was too tired to continue laboring in the fields; Imelda went on to have eleven children, two of whom passed away; Ausencio later died on March 28, 1994; in the early 2000s she began fighting for bracero compensation as his widow; consequently, she traveled throughout México as a result of her efforts.
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Interview with Imelda Díaz Pacheco by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1433," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.