Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Manuel Aparicio was born June 9, 1922, in Jerez, Zacatecas, México; during the 1950s, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Idaho, Texas and Wyoming, picking asparagus, beets, cotton, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes; later, he immigrated to the United States, and he ultimately became a citizen.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Aparicio talks about lending a man money to enlist in the bracero program; when he went looking for him to collect, he saw a number of his friends, and they ultimately convinced him to join the program; he began the process during the 1950s in Zacatecas, México, where he was medically examined before being sent to Irapuato, México, where he underwent more extensive exams; as a bracero, he labored in the fields of California, Idaho, Texas and Wyoming, picking asparagus, beets, cotton, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, housing, provisions, accommodations, duties, routines, treatment, payments, contract lengths and renewals and recreational activities; the starting pay in Wyoming was 50¢ an hour, whereas in California it was 75¢ an hour, and he was eventually able to get up to $1.25 an hour; while there, he completed three eighteen month contracts back to back; in order to renew, he was taken to the border and then brought back; during that time, he was also given a seventy-five day pass to return to Mexico to see his family; he also describes being in San Francisco, California to celebrate 16 de septiembre, the Independence of México; moreover, he also explains his various duties with the crops, including the different tools he used; later, in 1960, he immigrated to the United States; the following year, he was able to bring his family with him; he goes on to chronicle his life after the program, including the different jobs he had; during the 1990s, he ultimately became a citizen; overall, he has positive memories of having worked as a bracero.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Service
Interview with Manuel Aparicio by Lourdes Tlaxcuapan, 2008, "Interview no. 1404," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.