Jose Gamez


Myrna Parra-Mantilla


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Jose Gamez was born on February 17, 1927, in Francisco Amauro, Coahuila, México; two years later, he moved to Valle de Juárez, and was raised by his grandfather; in 1943, he began working as a bracero; he worked in the cotton fields of Tornillo, Texas and La Union, New Mexico.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Gamez briefly recalls his childhood and early adolescence; in 1942, he came to the United States illegally to work in the fields; it was while working illegally that he learned of the Bracero Program from other ranchers and workers; when he was initially recruited to work as a bracero, in 1943, neither a physical exam nor formal paperwork was required; he recalls that women and under aged boys were allowed to work as braceros if they were accompanied by adult males; his contract ended in 1945, and he was forced to go back to working illegally; in 1947, under aged boys and women were no longer allowed to work as braceros; the following year in 1948, there was what he called, free entrance, where anyone who wanted to work as a bracero could; as a consequence of World War II, basic foods like meat were sometimes difficult to find; he also recounts instances of discrimination against braceros.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

84 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1128

Transcript Number

No. 1128

Length of Transcript

37 pages

Interview Number

No. 1128

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.