Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Francisco Escalera was born in Rancho los Remedios, Michoacán, Mexico on July 28, 1940. His father was a farmer and he sowed corn, wheat, and garbanzo. He had eight siblings. He did not attend many years of school since when he was 7 or 8 years old he had to take care of animals while his father went to work to the U.S. during the 1940’s and 1950’s. He did not learn how to read or write.
Summary of Interview
Escalera recalls that his father died in 1954 and his family moved from Michoacán to Guadalajara, Mexico since it was hard to earn a living. He remembers that in this place he got a job with the city government for which he worked for 34 years and in 1959 he got opportunity to go to the U.S. and got a license from his job to be absent for three month. He describes his journey from Guadalajara going to the contract center in Empalme, Sonora, then to the border in Calexico, California from which he was hired to go to Santa Rosa, California to pick up grapes, apples, peaches, and pears. He recounts his first weeks there and describes the living quarters and facilities in the fields. Escalera discusses several things like what the braceros did on their free time for example that they went to the towns on Sundays and bought several things, going to the auto cinema, and sometimes play musical instruments; he also mentions the communication he kept with his family while being in the U.S. and that he always carried his bracero I.D. Also, when he returned to Mexico and brought several things for him and his family and he returned to work with his previous job with the city of Guadalajara; how he used his savings and how he was not that happy with the money he earned in the U.S. but at least helped him solve some economic problems. He also remembers the time when his father came back from being a bracero in the U.S. and details what he used to bring to his family, and the specifics when he arrived and what he talked about his experiences to his family. To conclude he mentions that he was not afraid when he went to the U.S. in his first contract, how he came back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico as a bracero and as an undocumented and that he kept his job in Guadalajara, how he ended up in Los Angeles. He concludes recollecting on the positive experiences as a bracero.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Jaime R. Ruiz
Interview with Francisco Escalera by Mireya Loza, 2011, "Interview No. 1506," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.