Manuel Romero

Interview in Spanish.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Manuel Romero talks about his hometown and working in agriculture and with livestock while growing up; he and his sisters were orphans; he was sent to live with his godfather; he details the harsh treatment he endured while living with his godfather; he owned several ranches in Mexicali, Mexico but he sold some of the land because he did not have water to irrigate; he briefly talks about U.S.- Mexico relations and irrigation; in 1954, he heard about a call for braceros; in 1957, he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he details the harsh conditions he and other men endured during the medical exams; as part of the process, they were stripped, deloused, checked for hemorrhoids, and had their blood drawn; some of the bracero fainted; he worked as a heavy machinery operator and as a field irrigator; in Yuma, he worked twenty-four hour intervals; in La Mesa, he worked twelve hour intervals; he was paid sixty cents an hour; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions for food, remittances, treatment, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; men that were not braceros lived in the camp as well; as a bracero, he endured discrimination; he had soda thrown in his face on several occasions; many braceros would drink and attend dances on Saturday and Sunday; Mr. Romero did additional work that was not part of his bracero contract; the foreman would take Mr. Romero to his home to clean his garden and wash his car on the weekends; he mentions the United Farm Workers movement and the murder of Rufino Contreras; although he did suffer as a bracero, his overall memories of the program are positive.