Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Agustín Flores was born on April 1, 1940, in Poanas, Durango, México; he was the eldest of eight siblings, and as such began working in the fields at the age of seven in order to help his family; in spite of his continuing efforts to work and bring in money, his family’s financial situation continued to worsen; in a final effort to relieve his family’s economic burden, he traveled to Durango, Durango, to enroll in the Bracero Program in 1959; as a bracero, he worked in Texas picking oranges.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Flores relives the hunger, sadness, and desperation that indelibly marked his childhood and adolescence; some of his uncles worked as braceros, and they had warned him that he would suffer greatly if he were to join them and work in the United States; in 1959, in spite of their admonitions, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program with the hopes of alleviating some of his family’s financial burdens; he describes the long waiting periods during the hiring process he went through in Durango, Durango, México; in addition, he details the medical exams at the contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and the disinfecting procedures at the reception center in Del Rio, Texas; as a bracero, he worked in Texas at an orange orchard; he goes on to explain the daily activities, work, wages, payments, contract amendments and extensions, food, housing, common problems, and what some of the braceros often did on weekends; furthermore, he comments on what his life was like after the program, and he concludes that even after a year of working as a bracero, his financial situation did not improve.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Agustín Flores Contreras by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1000," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.