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
Length of Transcript
Interview with Manuel Leal by Rosy Chivardi, 2005, "Interview no. 1086," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.