Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Domínguez was born on July 8, 1926, in Vicente Guerrero, Durango, México; he was the eldest of two brothers; when he was eight years old, he began helping his father by sowing beans, corn, and squash; the extreme economic hardships his family faced convinced him to join the Bracero Program in 1952; as a bracero, he worked in California, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking apples, cucumbers, grapes, oranges, and sugar beets; he continued working with the program until 1957.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Domínguez briefly relates what his family and childhood were like; the extreme economic hardships his family faced convinced him to join the Bracero Program in 1952; as a bracero, he worked in California, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking apples, cucumbers, grapes, oranges, and sugar beets; he describes the hiring process he went through at the contracting centers in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, and Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, as well as the long waiting periods and the disinfecting procedures; some of the braceros at these centers preferred working only in certain states; he details what life was like on the farms including the various kinds of work performed, wages, contract amendments and extensions, housing, food, weekend activities and hobbies, and how some braceros were able to send money home to México; in addition, he also recalls that representatives from the Mexican consulate would often visit; he concludes by describing what the benefits of having worked as a bracero were, and how he has fond memories of the program.
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Length of Transcript
Interview with José Isabel Domínguez Hernández by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 998," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.