Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Agustín Martínez was born on May 15, 1918, in Torreón, Coahuila, México; he was the oldest of three siblings; his father died when he was three years old; at the age of fifteen, he began sowing beans and corn to help his family financially; hard economic conditions and positive stories from first time braceros led him to enlist in the Bracero Program in 1942; he worked in California, New Mexico, and Texas until 1959; his jobs included picking cotton and tomatoes.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Martínez worked in California, New Mexico, and Texas from 1942 to 1959; he recalls the hiring process at the bracero contracting centers in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México and Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, México; additionally, he describes his train trip to the border, the disinfecting process at the reception center in Eagle Pass, Texas, and the signing of his contract; he relates details about the types of contracts they had, their lengths, and contract extensions; furthermore, he discusses their daily activities, the work they performed, their wages, their housing, and the food they ate; he also recounts how he saved money to send back to México; moreover, he remembers the relationships that existed between braceros, the problems he had with one bracero, in particular, their weekend trips, and the good treatment they received from ranchers; he also explains what the term bracero means to him, why he is proud of having been a bracero, and his positive memories of the experience.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Agustín Martínez Olivares by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 1012," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.