Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. José Arredondo was born on January 19, 1923, in Amaculí, Durango Municipio de Tamazula, Durango; his mother was a housewife and indigenous to the land; he had 10 siblings, 3 girls and 7 boys, 4 of his siblings died at a young age; he never attended school because he helped his father work in the fields since he was 7 years old.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Arredondo worked on picking lettuce, pears and peaches as well as being a cook and gardener; he worked from 1949 to 1950 in Imperial Valley and from 1953 to 1961 in Yolo; Mr. Arredondo talks about working in agriculture on his father’s land; his father became ill when he was very young, forcing him to work the fields to help support his family; he discusses how he was married to his first wife for 5 months and had his first child; he talks about undergoing medical examinations and being stripped of his clothes and sprayed down as well as having blood test done to ensure he was healthy before being given a contract; he immigrated illegally to the north in 1940 and harvested on alfalfa; he became a bracero in 1949 and held contracts that lasted 18 months; Mr. Arredondo worked 12 hour shifts and never took a day off because he needed the money to support his child; on Sunday’s he would cut hair to get extra income and occasionally would gamble; in one occasion, he won $2000 gambling and was forced to leave due to threats by the opposing players; his second marriage lasted 20 years, of which his wife died of cancer, he had 6 children with his second wife; he later re-married to his third wife in order to have someone care for his children; at the age of 62, Mr. Arredondo joined the United Farmed Workers Union.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with José Mario Arredondo Salas by Alma Carrillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1290," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.