Saturnino González

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. González briefly recalls his family and childhood; he remembers hearing stories about his dad working in the United States, which made him want to do the same; as a young man he acquired a secure job with the federal electricity commission in México, mounting high tension cables; when he was nineteen he heard about a call for braceros, and he decided to quit his job for the chance to work in the United States; he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, México, but he ended up being in debt before ever obtaining a contract; moreover, he details the harsh conditions he and other men endured while waiting there; in addition, he talks about how painful the physical exams were and how rudely they were conducted; as a bracero he worked throughout California picking lemons and strawberries; he goes on to describe the various worksites, duties, contract renewals, living conditions, provisions, payment, treatment, remittances, and recreational activities; oftentimes he served as a kind of leader for the other men, because he looked out for them and made sure no one took advantage of them; while working in Aromas, California, the crop was ruined by rain, but instead of returning to México, he deserted and sought work elsewhere; he initially went to Salinas, California, but he eventually made his way to Chicago, Illinois, where he found more permanent work; later, in 1972, he was able to legally emigrate to the United States, and he eventually brought the rest of his family with him.