Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Ceferino Palomares was born on December 1, 1922, in Tampico, Tamaulipas, México; his father died when he was young, and his maternal grandfather cared for the family shortly thereafter; sometime later, his mother also passed away, and the family eventually drifted apart; in 1944, he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program; as a bracero he worked in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; his duties included working in the fields, in a manufacturing plant, and on the railroads.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Palomares discusses his family and childhood; he initially learned about the Bracero Program through an advertisement in the local newspaper; his brother, Alfonso, encouraged him to enroll in the program; in 1944, they were both hired at the contracting center in their hometown of Tampico, Tamaulipas, México; consequently, Ceferino continued to go through the center in Tampico for all of his subsequent work contracts; his first contract took him to work on the railroads in Union City, Pennsylvania; when his contract ended six months later, he returned to México; the following year, in 1945, he went to work in a steel plant in Chicago, Illinois, that manufactured military armor; while working there, he had an accident that nearly cut off his left foot; he later decided to break his contract due to the horrible working conditions, and a cousin of his found him work in a laundry mat; in 1947, he worked in the lemon fields of Ohio; after the war was over, he came into the United States illegally to live with his brother in Chicago, and he was later deported; he goes on to comment on Mexican workers who come into the United States in search of a better life and how they are often taken advantage of.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Ceferino Palomares by Violeta Dominguez, 2003, "Interview no. 1062," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.