Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Sanchez Moreno was born in 1937, in Tecalitlán, Jalisco, México; when he was roughly three years old, the family moved to Tamazula [de Gordiano], Jalisco, México; he was the eldest of his five sisters and three brothers; his parents were campesinos; sometime later, he enlisted in the bracero program, and he labored in the fields of California, picking cotton; he eventually married, and he and his wife had four children; in 1962, he was able to obtain legal status in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Sanchez briefly talks about his family; when he and his brother went to visit their sister in Mexicali, Baja California, México, a group of men convinced them to enlist in the bracero program, and they helped them at the center in Empalme, Sonora, México; as part of the process, they were stripped and medically examined; they began to doubt their decision to join, because everything was so far beyond what they had imagined; Manuel recalls that many men tore up their contracts when they did not get assigned to the places they wanted; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, picking cotton; he goes on to detail housing, accommodations, amenities, payments, deductions, treatment, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; his brother deserted the contract, and he was able to get a new one further up north where the heat was not as bad; Manuel describes an instance in which the heat was so unbearable, that in a group of thirty-five men only seven were left working, because the others had either fainted or simply left; the foreman told them to rest in the shade, and when the boss saw, he was very upset they were not working; the two men had a huge fight, and the foreman took the men home, because it was too hot and many of them were sick with fever and unable to work; Manuel recounts several other anecdotes about his experiences as a bracero, particularly where he and others were treated badly; he eventually married, and he and his wife had four children; in 1962, he was able to obtain legal status in the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Manuel Sanchez Moreno by Mario Sifuentes, 2006, "Interview no. 1244," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.