Esteban Saldaña


Myrna Parra-Mantilla


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Esteban Saldaña was born on December 25, 1929, in San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, México; as a child, he often helped his father work on their ranch and care for the animals; he never received any formal schooling; when he was twenty-one years old, he stopped working for his father and began the hiring process for the Bracero Program; he worked on and off as a bracero from 1949 to 1954.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Saldaña spent his childhood and adolescence helping his father work the land and care for the animals they owned; he married when he was only seventeen years old, and he had children shortly thereafter; when he was twenty-one years old, he stopped working for his father in order to become a bracero and make more money to support his family; he had heard of the Bracero Program through media and news advertisements; for this first contract, he went to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, which in turn took him to work in Lovington, New Mexico, for three months; he later went through contracting centers in Durango and Monterrey México to find work; from 1949 to 1952, he worked as a bracero; he recalls that their meals consisted of a sandwich and an apple each day, for which they had to pay $12.00 per week; in 1953, he worked illegally in the United States, and a year later, in 1954, he was again able to work legally as a bracero; he comments that there were no differences in salary or duties while he worked illegally; that same year, while working in Arkansas, he organized a strike for workers to get paid 10¢ more per pound of cotton that they picked.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

62 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1139

Transcript Number

No. 1139

Length of Transcript

36 pages

Interview Number

No. 1139

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.