Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Antonio Mendoza García was born in 1932, in Durango, México; he was the fourth born of his seven siblings; when he was still young, his mother died while she was giving birth to one of his younger siblings; his father owned a small plot of land, which he farmed, and Antonio helped; during the 1960s, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arkansas, California and Oregon picking avocados, cotton, pecans, strawberries and tomatoes; he eventually married and had six children, all of whom were born in Durango, México; for a time, he worked in the United States without proper documentation, but he was ultimately able to obtain legal status.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Mendoza briefly talks about his family; initially, he heard about the bracero program through the radio; during the 1960s, he enlisted in the bracero program; he went through centers in Durango and Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; the center in Monterrey was a sports stadium, and people often went by to give the men free food as they waited; once in the United States, he was medically examined and deloused, like an animal; the powder used smelled horribly, and he had to wait two hours before he could wash it off; he and others were then packed into trailers like cattle and transported to the worksites; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of Arkansas, California and Oregon picking avocados, cotton, pecans, strawberries and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, accommodations, living conditions, provisions, duties, routines, payments, remittances, contract lengths and renewals and recreational activities, including trips into town; in addition, he describes the different crops he picked and the particulars of each; he eventually married a woman by the name of Angela Rojas García; together, they had six children, three boys and three girls; they were all born in Durango, México; for a time, Antonio worked in the United States without proper documentation, but he was ultimately able to obtain legal status; his family also immigrated to the United States; overall, he has positive memories of the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Antonio Mendoza García by Hugo Camacho, 2000, "Interview no. 1356," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.