Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Cirilo Diaz was born on in Izapan, Jalisco, México; his mother died when he was six years old, and he was raised by his godparents in Baja California, México; at age fourteen he worked cutting radishes and cilantro; he entered the bracero program in 1953, and then again from 1956 to 1960; he worked in Arizona picking cotton, lettuce, melon, and watermelon.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Diaz remembers his childhood and cutting radishes and cilantro; he joined the bracero program in 1953, and from 1956 to 1960; he worked in Arizona picking cotton, lettuce, and watermelon; during 1953, he joined a group of braceros that held a strike due to bad food; he describes how the Mexican consulate representative sided with the farmer and how the group was moved to a different field and sent to México; in 1956, he was contracted in Empalme, Sonora, México; he expresses the conditions men suffered while waiting for contracts, how they were contracted, and their trip to the border; furthermore, he describes the processing center in El Centro, California, the medical exams given, the fumigation process, and the bad treatment they got; he relates that he was taken to Yuma, Arizona were he worked until 1960; moreover, he presents how contracts were renewed, how he was paid, the work he did, and how he was allowed to live in San Luis, Sonora, México with his family; he describes their work week, and how checks were held sometimes to ensure an extra day of work from the men; finally, he states that his boss helped him become a resident and that he remembers his time as a bracero as a hard period, but one that allowed him to better his life and family.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Cirilo Diaz by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1188," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.