Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Margarita Murillo was born in Pajacuarán, Michoacán, México, on April 19, 1957; her father, Federico Herrera, was previously widowed and had seven children from that marriage; he later remarried and had two daughters, of which Margarita is the youngest; when Margarita was only a few years old, her father enlisted in the bracero program; he labored in the fields and on the railroads; after his time in the program, the family moved to Sinaloa, México, where Margarita learned to work in the fields; she later married, and her father died shortly after; she and her husband ultimately immigrated to the United States.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Murillo talks about growing up with her sister and two half brothers; when Margarita was only a few years old, her father, Federico Herrera, enlisted in the bracero program; he labored in the fields and on the railroads; while he was gone, they stayed with different relatives on her mother’s side, because they did not have a home; her aunt often gave them supplies like food and soap, because they did not have anything; her mother cleaned, washed and sewed to earn money; eventually, her father was able to send enough money for them to rent a small adobe home; although they still lived in extreme poverty, Margarita was too young to know any better and was happy nonetheless; when Federico finally returned home, Margarita did not recognize him, because she was so young when he left; after his time in the program, the family moved to Sinaloa, México, where Margarita learned to work in the fields; she recalls her father talking to her about the sacrifices he made in order to work; when he crossed into the United States, he was stripped and fumigated, which is why he does not have a shirt on in his mica card picture; he also spoke to her in English and told her about his trips into town while working; in addition, he also showed them how to make flour tortillas and other foods; he always wanted the best for her and often encouraged her to come to the United States in the hope of having a better life; she later married, and her father died shortly after; she and her husband immigrated to the United States, and they were ultimately able to obtain legal status.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Margarita Murillo by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1359," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish.