Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Carrol (Kelly) Norquest Jr. was born on November 27, 1934, in Edinburg, Texas; her father owned about 100 acres of farm land, and the primary crop was cotton; as a child she helped work the land, and later as an adult, she ran the farm; in the late 1940s and all through the 1950s, her father hired braceros to help with the crops.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Norquest recalls growing up as a child on her father’s farm; her family owned 100 acres of land, and they rented another 200 acres; their primary crop was cotton, but they also had carrots, citrus, corn, grain, and tomatoes; she and her siblings would help during the harvest by picking and weighing cotton; in the late 1940s and all through the 1950s, her father hired braceros to help with the crops; there was an average of five to ten workers that stayed on year round, and more during the harvesting season; her father hired a number of skilled laborers, such as irrigators and tractor drivers, on a permanent basis, and a few of them later became United States citizens; she mentions that her father had to abide by strict government standards with regard to housing, pay, and medical insurance; some of the braceros preferred going to doctors in Mexico, and her father would drive them across the border if necessary; he would also give workers bonuses at the end of a season as an incentive for them to come back and work for him; she recalls one instance when her father did not have enough money to pay everyone the minimum wage, but the they agreed to work for him anyway; one worker reported him to government officials, but he was shunned by the bracero community for having made such a statement; she goes on to recall other specific incidents with braceros as well; overall, her family developed great relationships with the braceros, and a number of them stayed in touch with the family long after they stopped working together.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Carroll (Kelly) Norquest Jr. by Homer Vera, 2003, "Interview No. 1549," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.