Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
: Félix Flores Juan was born in December of 1921, in Janitzio, Michoacán, México; his father was a fisherman; growing up, he worked with his dad, but some time later, he also learned to make sombreros; he eventually married, and afterward decided to enlist in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of Texas, picking and packing various crops; his brother also labored in the fields as a bracero.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Flores describes what life was like when he was growing up and working with his father as a fisherman; he recalls men coming to town to recruit people for the bracero program; later, when he married, there were no more fish, which prompted him to enlist in the bracero program; he took a boat off the island and then took a bus with a group of men to Empalme, Sonora, México; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of Texas, picking and packing various crops; he goes on to detail housing, provisions, duties, treatment, contract renewals, payment, remittances, relationships and recreational activities, including trips into town; in addition, he talks about an incident when he had a toothache and was taken to a dentist by his employer who paid for everything; he also remembers that some men paid others to wash for them, because they did not know how; fortunately, he already knew how to cook, wash, and sew; some of the men even dated women from town and often had to buy them gifts; while obtaining his second contract he used a card, which helped him pass without having to be examined like he had been for first contract; he was able to pass twice as a special employee; in addition to laboring in the fields, he also worked building a canal in Texas; when he was gone, his wife stayed with his parents and cared for them; he liked the United States and did not want to return to México; moreover, he especially liked that girls would visit braceros in the camp, and they even spoke Spanish; he goes on to briefly discuss his life after the program.
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Interview with Félix Flores Juan by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1436," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.