Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Matilde Gallegos was born on March 30, 1930, in Benito Juárez, Chihuahua, México; he was one of six children; at the age of twelve, he started working with his father and bother in agriculture; he received formal education up to the second grade; at age eighteen, he joined the Bracero Program, and worked in Texas picking cotton.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Gallegos recalls growing up in Benito Juárez, Chihuahua, México; he states that he began working in agriculture when he was twelve years old; at age eighteen, he remembers traveling to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México to join the Bracero Program, and describes the conditions he endured there; he details that he had to spend twenty days waiting to be contracted, a time he spent homeless; additionally, he explains the contracting process, the medical exams he endured, and how he was transported to the United States in a train car that was normally used for animals; he worked in Texas picking cotton; furthermore, he presents what life was like in the bracero camps, what kind of housing they got, and how they were treated by foremen; he outlines that in some camps food was provided to them at no cost, but that in others they were deducted a charge from their pay or they had to cook their own food; after three years of bracero work, he decided he did not want to continue contract work; he explains why he returned to the U.S. as an undocumented worker, and why he feels that the Bracero Program was of little help due to the low pay they received.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Matilde Gallegos by Anaís Acosta, 2005, "Interview no. 1108," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.