Manuel Gamez


Myrna Parra-Mantilla


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Manuel Gamez was born on September 15, 1932; he came from a large family and would often help his father work in the fields; in 1949, at the age of seventeen, he came to the United States illegally in order to work; later that same year, he went through the hiring process for the Bracero Program; he continued working as a bracero for the next thirteen years.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Gamez briefly recalls his childhood and early adolescence; in 1949, when he was seventeen years old, he came into the United States illegally to work; it was while working illegally in Tornillo, Texas, that he learned of the Bracero Program; his boss at the time sent him to the processing center so that he could officially go through the hiring process and become a bracero; he continued working for that particular rancher over the next eight years; the rancher he worked for spoke Spanish, which made communicating much easier; he recalls celebrating birthdays and holidays by having special lunches out in the fields; oftentimes, he would use machines when working out in the fields, which was less work for him and more money as well; although he worked primarily in the cotton fields, he worked in various places throughout Texas and New Mexico; he went on to work as a bracero for a total of thirteen years, until 1962.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

70 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1129

Transcript Number

No. 1129

Length of Transcript

38 pages

Interview Number

No. 1129

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.