Manuel Romero


Verónica Cortez


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Mr. Manuel Romero was born on October 5, 1914, in San José de Gracia, Sinaloa, Mexico; he had three sisters; his father worked in agriculture; his mother died when he was three years old; after his father’s death, he was raised by his godfather; Mr. Romero owned several ranches in Mexicali, Mexico; he married his common law wife; they had twelve children; he also raised two nephews; he was a bracero for five years; he worked in Winterhaven, Yuma, and La Mesa California; he and his family later immigrated to the United States.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Manuel Romero talks about his hometown and working in agriculture and with livestock while growing up; he and his sisters were orphans; he was sent to live with his godfather; he details the harsh treatment he endured while living with his godfather; he owned several ranches in Mexicali, Mexico but he sold some of the land because he did not have water to irrigate; he briefly talks about U.S.- Mexico relations and irrigation; in 1954, he heard about a call for braceros; in 1957, he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he details the harsh conditions he and other men endured during the medical exams; as part of the process, they were stripped, deloused, checked for hemorrhoids, and had their blood drawn; some of the bracero fainted; he worked as a heavy machinery operator and as a field irrigator; in Yuma, he worked twenty-four hour intervals; in La Mesa, he worked twelve hour intervals; he was paid sixty cents an hour; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions for food, remittances, treatment, friendships, correspondence and recreational activities; men that were not braceros lived in the camp as well; as a bracero, he endured discrimination; he had soda thrown in his face on several occasions; many braceros would drink and attend dances on Saturday and Sunday; Mr. Romero did additional work that was not part of his bracero contract; the foreman would take Mr. Romero to his home to clean his garden and wash his car on the weekends; he mentions the United Farm Workers movement and the murder of Rufino Contreras; although he did suffer as a bracero, his overall memories of the program are positive.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

57 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1314

Transcript Number

No. 1314

Length of Transcript

43 pages

Interview Number

No. 1314

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.