Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
María Soledad Herrera de Reyes was born July 26, 1955, in Pajacuarán, Michoacán, México; her mother was a housewife, and her father worked in agriculture, sowing beans, corn and wheat; he came to the United States for a brief time, and he worked without proper documentation; later, when María was still a baby, he enlisted in the bracero program; after his time with the program, the family moved to Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México; María eventually married and immigrated to the United States; she and her husband settled in Arizona to raise their family.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Herrera de Reyes talks about her family and growing up in her half brother’s home; she was raised with several half siblings, and her mother cared for all of them; when María was still a baby, her father enlisted in the bracero program; while he was gone her mother sold tortillas and worked as a seamstress to supplement their income; María also recalls her day-to-day life with her mother and grandfather; upon her father’s return, he brought his wife and daughters undergarments from the United States, but his wife did not like them; he also bought a lot of groceries once in México to take home to his family; oftentimes, he shared stories with María about his experiences; he told her about the time he came looking for work in the United States and nearly died, because he was lost in the desert for three days; after he obtained a bracero contract, he suffered greatly when he was stripped and deloused like an animal; despite what he endured, he was still fond of several American customs; for instance, he preferred for his wife and daughters to wear pants instead of dresses; in addition, he frequently cooked at home and even showed his wife how to make flour tortillas; when he spoke in English, María thought he was a very important, intelligent and modern man; after his time with the program, the family moved to Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, where she was formally educated; María eventually married and immigrated to the United States; she and her husband settled in Arizona to raise their family.
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Interview with María Soledad Herrera de Reyes by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1349," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish