Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Heriberto Martínez was born on August 22, 1929, in Venustiano Carranza, Durango, México; he was the second of three brothers; at age seven, he worked sowing beans, chili, corn, and cutting wood; at the age of fifteen, he worked loading trains; in 1953, he became a bracero and worked in California, Missouri, Montana, and Texas; he picked carrots, cotton, lemons, and sugar until 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Martínez recalls growing up in Francisco I. Madero, Durango, México; he remembers finding out about the Bracero Program in 1953; as a bracero, he worked in California, Missouri, Montana, and Texas; he recounts how he enlisted in the program and the requirements he needed to fulfill; additionally, he describes several trips he made to contracting centers in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, and Jalisco, México; he also details his time at Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, and the medical test he had to endure; furthermore, he describes the daily activities he performed in the field, how the work was conducted, the different wages braceros were paid, and the methods of payment; he also discusses what their housing was like, how he saved money, what they did during weekends, and how braceros played dominoes, cards and dice; moreover, he talks about his life after being a bracero, why he is proud to have been one, and how it changed his and his family’s life.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Heriberto Martínez Díaz by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1011," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.