Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Manuel Salamanca was born on December, 26, 1923, in Nochistlán, Zacatecas, Mexico; as a young boy, he helped his family by working in the fields and caring for animals; both of his parents and a sister were killed; he was raised by his older brother and sister-in-law; when he was eighteen, he joined the bracero program; as a bracero he labored in the fields of California, Texas and Arizona picking oranges, lemons, tomato, cotton, and beets; he also irrigated the fields; he worked as a bracero from 1942-1959; he married in 1956 and fathered six children.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Manuel Salamanca recalls the humble beginnings of his childhood and how he and his siblings suffered; he discusses the advice his eldest brother gave him and his reasons for moving to the United States; Mr. Salamanca discusses the harsh treatment he endured at the hands of his sister-in-law; he went without food for several days because she did not want to raise him; in 1942, at the age of eighteen, he heard about a call for braceros; he traveled to the processing center in Mexicali, Mexico; he briefly discusses the processing center; as part of the process, he was medically examined, vaccinated, and deloused; his first contract took him to fields of Texas; it was a forty-five day contract; after the contract ended, he returned to Mexico; in 1943 he renewed his contract and worked in Tucson, Arizona; in 1953-54 he worked in the grape fields of Delano, California; he met and married his wife in 1956; his wife would visit him at the camp; he briefly details the camp size, living conditions, duties, remittances and correspondence; after the bracero program ended, he returned to Mexico but continued crossing into the United States illegally until he was able to gain legal status; Mr. Salamanca concludes that his overall experiences as a bracero were positive.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Manuel Salamanca by Grisel Murillo, 2006, "Interview no. 1315," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.