Monica Pelayo


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Maria Luisa Ramos Terriquez was born on April 3, 1949, in El Copalillo, Amatlán de Cañas, Nayarit, Mexico; she is the eldest of eight surviving siblings; she has a half-brother from a relationship that her father had prior to marrying her mother; her father was a bracero; her mother was a housewife, worked in the fields, and took in laundry to support the family; Maria L. Ramos Terriquez received very little formal education while living in Nayarit, Mexico; in 1960, her father moved the family from Nayarit, Mexico, to Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico; she attended school for several years while living in Mexicali, Mexico; her father worked in Fallbrook, California and in Illinois; at the time of the interview, Mrs. Terriquez was her father’s primary caretaker; they live in El Centro, California.

Summary of Interview

Maria L. Ramos Terriquez briefly recalls her childhood and the financial difficulties her family endured; her father was a bracero; he contracted in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; she discusses the remittances sent by her father to her grandmother; she states that her grandmother kept the money, opened a store, and did not help support her or her siblings; she states that her grandmother, Andrea, would make her wash her uncles clothing; in addition, she adds that her uncles were verbally and emotionally abusive; she graphically describes an event in which she encountered her mother feeding a woman with leprosy; she, her mother, and her siblings, worked in the corn, peanut, potato and wheat fields; she states that her father worked as a bracero in Mexicali, Mexico and in California; despite letters from his boss, Mr. Ramos did not apply for residency; he believed that the working conditions were too harsh and he did not want his children to work in the United States; her father detailed the harsh living conditions the braceros endured; she believes that her father may have had another family in the United States.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

42 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1311

Transcript Number

No. 1311

Length of Transcript

31 pages

Interview Number

No. 1311

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.