Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Higinio Muñoz Martínez was born January 19, near San Miguel [el] Alto, in Jalisco, México; when he was eight years old, his family moved to San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, México, where he was raised; his parents were campesinos, and he had three sisters and two brothers; he was formally educated for roughly seven years, and he also worked in the fields; in 1945, he enlisted in the bracero program and continued with the program until 1962; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Michigan and Oregon, cleaning, pruning and picking beets, grapes, green beans and tomatoes; later, in 1960, he married, and two years later he legally immigrated to the United States; he ultimately became a citizen in 1984.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Muñoz talks about his family and childhood memories; while he was in México, Distrito Federal, he saw an announcement in the newspaper for the bracero program; in 1945, he decided to enlist in the program, because he was not earning enough money and wanted a chance for a better life; he went through the contracting center in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, and from there, he was transported by train to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, before finally arriving at the camp in Oregon; the braceros had no say in where they went to work; in his opinion, they were all very ignorant about all of it; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Michigan and Oregon, cleaning, pruning and picking beets, grapes, green beans and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, accommodations, amenities, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, working relationships, friendships, contract lengths, payments, remittances and recreational activities, including trips into town; from 1958 to 1962, he picked grapes in Borrego Springs, California, which is where he worked the longest; during this time he married, and he visited his wife and family every week in Mexicali, Baja California, México, which was about an hour away; shortly after his time in the program, he legally immigrated to the United States, and he ultimately became a citizen in 1984.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Higinio Muñoz Martínez by Annette Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1229," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.