Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Esequiel Adame was born on January 5, 1940, in Ocampo, Durango, México, but he was raised in Delicias, Chihuahua, México; he was the third born of his four sisters and three brothers; as a child, he received relatively little formal education; when he was ten years old, his mother died, and the family moved back to Durango; during the early forties, his father began working with the bracero program, and José ultimately joined him; as a bracero, José worked in the beet and cotton fields of Colorado, Montana, and Texas, until the program ended in 1964.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Adame very briefly describes his family and childhood; he recalls going to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México, with his father and brother, to enlist as braceros; in order to be allowed into the contracting center, they had to pay, and even then they still had to stay there for a week, and sometimes even longer; they also had to spend money just to sleep on the floor of a hotel while they waited for a contract; once called, they were stripped and medically examined; from there they were transported by cargo train to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, and then taken to El Paso, Texas, where they were assessed again and deloused; they were then transferred to Rio Vista, a processing center in Socorro, Texas, before finally being taken to their worksites; each time he was contracted he went through this entire process; as a bracero, he worked in the beet and cotton fields of Colorado, Montana, and Texas; he goes on to detail the various worksites, duties, living amenities, provisions, payment, treatment, recreational activities, and remittances; in addition, he mentions that he often worked for the same employer in Texas; moreover, he details the extreme difficulty of using the short hoe, for hours on end, when laboring in the beet fields; after the program ended, he worked in the United States illegally for a time, but he was ultimately able to gain citizenship; he concludes by stating that he is proud to have been a bracero, because he was able to help not only himself, but the United States as well.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with José Esequiel Adame by Marina Kalashnikova, 2008, "Interview no. 1328," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.