Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Eberto Enríquez was born on November 3, 1934, in Bacerac, Sonora, México; he had eight brothers and sisters, but one died; as a boy, he helped his father work the land and care for animals; his formal education extended only through the sixth grade; when he was roughly twelve years old, he began working at a sawmill; he was put in charge of tracking available workers and payments, because he could read and write.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Enríquez describes his family and what it was like growing up in Bacerac, Sonora, México; after learning about the bracero program, he took a bus to the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México, in order to enlist; he details the difficulties he encountered while there, as well as the medical exams and other procedures he underwent; from there, he was transported by train to Mexicali, Baja California, and then to El Centro, California; upon entering the United States, he was examined again, stripped naked, and fumigated; before being allowed to dress, he was photographed for his mica card; he was then taken to Holtville, California, where he learned how to pick carrots; while there, he was paid up to 30¢ per box that he picked, and he could earn as much as $14.00 a day; he also details the barracks where he and a number of other braceros lived; this was often problematic, because there was too much noise to sleep; more specifically, he mentions that police were frequently there, because female prostitutes were in the barracks; in addition, he talks about an incident of mistaken identity which led to a bar fight; he goes on to describe the various places he worked, duties, daily routines, provisions, and recreational activities; moreover, he notes that braceros and undocumented workers often labored side by side; he concludes that although he was not able to save very much money, he still has positive memories of the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Eberto Enríquez by Anais Acosta, 2008, "Interview no. 1341," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.