Violeta Mena


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Adelino López Gutiérrez was born on November 10, 1939, in San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco, Mexico; he is the second of six children born to Concepción López and María Matea Gutiérrez; he married at the age of twenty-three, his wife, Carmen Ramírez, was from Guanajuato; she was twenty years old when they met; they had four children; he was a bracero from 1950-1963; he worked in Tracy, California picking tomato and persimmon; he also worked in the fields of Imperial Valley, picking beets and onions; at the time of the interview, Mr. López was living in Mexicali, Mexico.

Summary of Interview

Mr. López describes the long lines and the actions taken by people in order to obtain an eligibility letter at Justo Sierra, Jalisco, Mexico; he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he recalls the entire process, including lists of eligible workers, waiting times, and transportation; as part of the process, he was stripped and examined, which was embarrassing because their were women present; he traveled to the receiving center; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions, remittances, treatment, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; he recalls the use of short-handled hoes and the nicknames the braceros gave to the foremen; he further details confrontations that occurred between braceros while working in the fields; many braceros would drink, go dancing, and visit with Mexican and American ladies on the weekends; after the program ended, he returned to the United States on several occasions, however, he did not arrange for residency; although he did suffer as a bracero, Mr. López states that his overall memories of the program are positive.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

58 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1298

Transcript Number

No. 1298

Length of Transcript

41 pages

Interview Number

No. 1298

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.