Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Estela V. Cervantes was born November 11, 1924, in Del Rey, California; when she was five years old, her family moved to Irapuato, Guanajuato, México, which was her mother’s hometown; her family was well-off, because her mother had businesses, and her father owned a lot of land; Estela had four siblings, all of whom were born in México; she was formally educated with nuns through the fifth grade before attending a government school; in 1941, she married, and by 1943, her husband, Jesús, had joined the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Oregon and Washington, picking apples, cantaloupe, cherries and grapes; Estela and Jesús went on to have a total of seven children, and they eventually settled in the United States.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Cervantes talks about her family and what her life was like growing up in México; she describes meeting her husband, Jesús; he was born in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México and raised in the small nearby town of Copalillo; his parents were campesinos, and he and his three brothers also worked in the fields; in 1941, Estela and Jesús were married; two years later, in 1943, he left to Mexico, Distrito Federal without telling anyone; Estela later learned that he left in order to enlist in the bracero program; he had heard about the program through his friends and went in the hope of providing a better life for his family; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Oregon and Washington, picking apples, cantaloupe, cherries and grapes; while he was gone, she stayed with her in-laws; he wrote often and sent money home, but his mother kept everything; while he was a bracero, Estela lived in Fresno, California for a short time; she goes on to discuss their life together after the program as well; Estela and Jesús went on to have a total of seven children, and they eventually settled in the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Interview with Estela V. Cervantes by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1255," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.