Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mr. Roberto M. González was born on November 2, 1934, in Zacapu, Michoacán, Mexico; his father was a blacksmith and his mother was a housewife; he had eight siblings; he was formally educated through the fifth grade; in 1954, he decided to enlist in the bracero program; in 1962, he completed his last contract; he ultimately immigrated to the United States; he married in 1963; in 1987, he became a United States citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Roberto M. González briefly recalls his family and childhood; after growing tired of working with his father, he traveled to Mexicali, Mexico with a friend; he heard about a call for braceros and decided to enlist; he recalls that one of the requirements for the braceros was to have calloused hands; he paid ten dollars in order to be added to the list of eligible workers; on another occasion, he was required to pick two thousand kilos of cotton in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico; he traveled to the processing center in Empalme, Sonora, Mexico; he was sent to El Centro, California; he recalls the entire process, including lists of eligible workers, waiting times, and transportation to and from the center; as part of the process, he was stripped, medically examined, and deloused; he goes on to detail the camp size, living conditions, provisions, duties, payments, deductions and correspondence; the braceros were fed very little; the company did not have adequate lodging so the braceros carpooled from San Luis to the camp daily; his first contract sent him to work for the Del Monte company in Woodland, California; his second contract sent him to work in the agricultural fields of Coachella, California; he also completed two contracts in Somerton Arizona where he worked in the cotton, lettuce, and melon fields; he injured his arm and was unable to work for several months; the Mexican Consul informed him that he was not going to be allowed to work for two years because he was medically disabled; he did not receive monetary assistance during that time; he recalls that many braceros would quit and travel back to Mexico on foot; in addition, he discusses clashes between farm workers affiliated with Cesar Chávez and the braceros; after the Bracero Program ended, Mr. Roberto M. González remained working for the same company; at the time of the interview, he resided in El Centro, California.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Roberto M. González by Annete Shreibati, 2006, "Interview no. 1326," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.