Institute of Oral History
Summary of Interview
She was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, May 12, 1929. She had a very big family and she got to meet her grandmother and she was living in Ciudad Juarez, so they moved from Alamogordo to Juarez to be with her. Her grandmother used to have a son that had an accident in a mine, and they got a lot of money for compensation, but the son of her uncle spent everything. She was only 6 years old, and her grandmother died when she was 10 years old, they weren’t living with her, but they lived close, so they visit her daily. Her mother will tell her a lot of stories of when she was young, and how they were now in the town when Francisco Villa was taken over the small towns. Her father was employed in a mine in the same town that her mother lived in, so her father took her mother to the United States, but it was forced to move. Her grandmother’s family used to have an agricultural land when they grow mostly apples, and they made a living out of that. After all her brothers were born and included her, they moved out from Alamogordo and cross the border to her to Ciudad Juarez, where her father got a new job and they got to be closer with their family.
She was the only family member that stayed in Ciudad Juarez after her grandmother died, after that she got married and lived in Juarez for many years. She didn’t like school, and she didn’t get the best grades, but she still studied in Juarez, while she was studying the professors will hit the boys but not the women’s and after many years they had to go to different schools. She only studied to the 5th year because she thought that she didn’t need to study to do something in life. She remembers that they marched in 5 de Mayo, to commemorate what happened but in a fun way where everyone laughed and danced.
After many years of living in Ciudad Juarez, she noticed that agriculture wasn’t a thing anymore because most of the land was lost in the modernization of the city. The Chinese workers made a huge impact on the agriculture because they were, for most part, in charge of the fields where they grow many vegetables. After some time, all of that disappeared due to many factors.
When immigrants wanted to cross the border to work in the United States, they needed to go thru a sanitizer that was like a chamber where they get sprayed some type of chemicals. After going thru that chamber you were allowed to cross the border and they didn’t ask you for any documentation, but after getting sanitized the cloths will be so damaged that the moment you crossed you needed to buy new cloths. Her father crossed that way, and he stablished in Alamogordo where her 5 children were born and after they grow, her sister asked for her mother in order to make her a resident.
When they were growing as a family, they had petroleum lamps as wells as a stove of petroleum, and they didn’t have any water with pressure so they had a machine that pumped the water into the house so that they could took a bath or wash the dishes. They don’t have any way of listening to the radio because they couldn’t afford one and they were rare to find. She worked in different places that were related to the agriculture such as, liking up the corn or cotton and that was very good for them because they got pay and they got to gang out with men. She dropped out of school in order to work in the fields and pick up the cotton, the field was in Canutillo and in order to get there they needed to make like a carpool to get to the fields, because some of the workers had trucks and picked up the other worker. She was involved in a movement against the union of workers because they weren’t doing their job and they supposedly were protecting the employees but that wasn’t true, and everyone suffered more to with the union than without the union. The people that worked in the big companies were tired because the people that worked in there were labor abused with high amounts of work and small payments. She was the first woman to begin the movement against the union. Most of the people were scared to protest again the union because they could get fired and lose their job. If they were to get fired most of the people won’t apply for a job in the same company because they were treated to badly that they sometimes will prefer to get fired.
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Interview with Hernandez by Institute of Oral History, 2023, "Interview no. 1784," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Roberto Cristoforo transcribed the coversheet of the interview. There is no transcription of the interview.