Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jesus Tellez Sanchez was born on September 20, 1934, in Villa López, Chihuahua, México; his father, Melesio Téllez Talamantes, worked in agriculture, and his mother, Luisa Sánchez, was a housewife; Jesús was the eighth born of his four sisters and five brothers; he was formally educated through the fourth grade; by the time he was fifteen years old, he was caring for animals and working the land; in 1953, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming; he continued working with the program until 1958.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Tellez recalls his hometown, going to school, and working with his father; in 1953, he was able to get on the list of eligible workers in order to enlist in the bracero program; he went through the contracting center in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México; from there he was transported by train to El Paso, Texas, where he was medically examined, which including being stripped and deloused; the men who fumigated the braceros, however, wore uniforms for protection as well as masks; while at the processing center in Rio Vista, he was fed eggs, beans, and tortillas; before leaving for his worksite, he was given a sack lunch consisting of two sandwiches and an orange; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming, and he continued working with the program until 1958; he goes on to detail housing, living arrangements, amenities, provisions, daily routines, work duties, payments, remittances, and recreational activities; his longest contract was in Pecos, Texas, where he worked with roughly five or six other braceros; they made their own food, and each paid about $5.00 per week for their share of food; a few years after becoming a bracero he married a woman from his hometown; he briefly describes their relationship, including correspondence while he was in the United States, and their six children; overall, he has positive memories of the program; one of his daughters later helped him become a legal resident.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Jesus Tellez Sanchez by Violeta Mena, 2006, "Interview no. 1160," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.