Manuel Leal


Rosy Chivardi


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Manuel Leal was born on March 9, 1922, in Aldama, Chihuahua, México; he has four sisters and five brothers; when he was seven years old, his mother died; as a child, he helped his father care for the animals they owned; consequently, he was formally educated only through the third grade; he worked with the bracero program from 1951 to 1960; as a bracero, he worked in New Mexico and Texas, picking crops, irrigating, and driving tractors.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Leal briefly discusses his early childhood and family; in 1951, he enlisted in the bracero program; he describes going through Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, and the various procedures he underwent while there; as a bracero, he worked in New Mexico and Texas, picking crops, irrigating, and driving tractors; he goes on to describe wages, working and living conditions, provisions, recreational activities, and the medical attention received when necessary; in addition, he explains the range of interactions with fellow braceros, employers, immigration personnel, and consul representatives; he continued working with the program until 1960; in the early eighties, he returned to the United States as an undocumented worker; by the mideighties, however, he was able to arrange residency for himself and his family; he concludes by reflecting on the bracero program overall and how it affected his life.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

73 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1086

Transcript Number

No. 1086

Length of Transcript

53 pages

Interview Number

No. 1086

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.