Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Rosendo Alarcón was born on January 27, 1938, in Tepehuanes, Durango, México; he was the second of ten siblings; when he was seven years old, he began helping his family work in the fields, and he continued to do so throughout his teenage years; he later enrolled in the Bracero Program in 1957; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking chile, cotton, and tomato; he continued working with the program until 1959.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Alarcón briefly describes his childhood, adolescence, and family; he recalls that he initially heard of the Bracero Program through radio and newspaper advertisements; in 1957, he enrolled in the program with the hopes of earning money in order to return to México and open his own business; he details the different steps he went through at the contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; in addition, he provides a vivid description of the traumatic medical examinations, the delousing process, and the overall horrible treatment he received from the American doctors; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking chile, cotton, and tomato; he goes on to explain the daily activities on the farm, including work, wages, methods of payment, tax deductions, contract amendments and extensions, housing, and food; some braceros would gamble and drink on weekends; prostitution was allowed in the camps; he later narrates what his life was like after the program, and he explains why he ultimately decided to stay in México rather than return to the United States.
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Interview with Rosendo Alarcón Carrera by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 992," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.