Nicolás Rodríguez


Manuel Sanmiguel


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Nicolás Rodríguez was born October 14, 1914, in Acaponeta, Nayarit, México; when he was a year old, his mother moved him to La Concha, Sinaloa, México, to be with his grandparents, because she was crippled; he was never formally educated, but he was already learning to work in the fields by the time he was eight years old; sometime later, he married and started a family, which ultimately included eleven children in total; he enlisted in the bracero program and labored in the fields of California picking almonds, cantaloupe, pecans, tomatoes and watermelon; afterward, he immigrated to the United States.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Rodríguez briefly talks about his family and what his life was like growing up; he recalls recruiters for the bracero program going to Culiacán, Sinaloa, México and giving out papers to enlist in Empalme, Sonora, México; at the time, he had a wife and children to support, and he decided to join the program; he describes the entire process he underwent in Empalme, including necessary documents, waiting for fifteen days and being stripped and medically examined; from there he was sent to the border at Calexico, California by train, where he endured further exams, including x-rays, injections and several blood samples, which caused many men to faint; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California picking almonds, cantaloupe, pecans, tomatoes and watermelon; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, amenities, accommodations, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, contract lengths, friendships and recreational activities, including trips into town; while working in Lemoore, California, his appendix ruptured, and he was rushed to the hospital by an ambulance; after his surgery, he was out of work for eighteen days; during this time, he and others that were ill stayed in a hotel; the men were encouraged to return to México, but Nicolás told the Mexican consul he wanted to go back to work, which he was able to do; he later immigrated to the United States and became a legal resident; overall, he had a positive experience with the program and is proud of his work as a bracero.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

52 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1372

Transcript Number

No. 1372

Length of Transcript

44 pages

Interview Number

No. 1372

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.