Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ignacio Magallanes was born on July 31, 1932, in Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, México; he was the third of seven brothers; at the age of ten, he worked in agriculture; his father joined the Bracero Program in 1942; at the age of eighteen, he moved to Durango, Durango, México and worked in construction; economic hardship and his father’s insistence pushed him to enlist in the Bracero Program in 1954; he worked in California, Michigan, and Texas picking cantaloupes, lettuce, sugar beets, tomatoes, and watermelons; these activities he performed until 1961.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Magallanes describes the economic situation that led him to the Bracero Program in 1954; he worked in California, Michigan, and Texas; additionally, he details what the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México was like, the treatment he received from American doctors, and his train trip to the México-United States border; he recalls daily activities on farms, the work braceros did, and the way they were paid; furthermore, he discusses the different types of contracts they had and their lengths; he states what braceros did during weekends, and the racism they encountered in the United States; he remembers the benefits of being a bracero, the things he liked and disliked in the U.S., and his fond memories of the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Ignacio Magallanes Hernández by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1010," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.