Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Alejandro Hernández was born July 10, 1927, in Durango, México; he was the first born of his four siblings; in 1936, when he was nine years old, his father died; as the eldest, he began working by helping care for livestock, in order to help support his family; consequently, he was formally educated only through the second grade; by the time he was eleven years old, he was working in the fields picking cotton; in 1950, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the alfalfa and cotton fields of Las Cruces, New Mexico, cleaning, pruning, watering and picking for ten years; in 1954, he married a woman he met in El Paso, Texas; they had three boys while he was a bracero, and later they had two more boys and three girls, eight children in total.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Hernández talks about his family and how much he suffered growing up; he initially learned about the bracero program through the radio; in 1950, he and a friend went to Chihuahua, México to earn money picking cotton; from there they went to the contracting center in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México, which was situated in an abandoned racetrack; among the thousands waiting, they found some friends that were already on a list of workers; two men from the list were missing and they easily took their place; Alejandro describes crossing into El Paso, Texas, where he was stripped, examined and deloused; from there he was transported in trailers used for animals to Las Cruces, New Mexico; as a bracero, he labored in the alfalfa and cotton fields of Las Cruces, cleaning, pruning, watering and picking for ten years; he goes on to detail housing, accommodations, living conditions, duties, routines, payments, deductions, remittances, treatment, contract lengths and renewals, friendships, working relationships and recreational activities, including trips into town; in addition, he recounts several anecdotes about his experiences; moreover, he talks about the woman he met in El Paso, Texas and visited every week until they finally married in 1954; they had three boys while he was a bracero, and later they had two more boys and three girls, eight children in total.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Alejandro Hernández by Hugo Camacho, 2008, "Interview no. 1347," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish.