Erasmo Corral


Cristina Berumen


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Erasmo Corral was born in 1914, in Tepehuanes, Durango, México; he had six brothers and two sisters; his father worked in agriculture, and his mother was a housewife; he was never formally educated, but he did learn to read and write as an adult; by the time he was eight years old, he helped care for animals; during the midthirties, he worked in the United States without legal documentation for six years; in 1943, he enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked on railroads and in cotton fields.

Summary of Interview

In 1943, Mr. Corral went though the contracting center in Queretaro, México to enlist in the bracero program; he was medically examined before being transferred to the United States by train; as a bracero, he worked on railroads and in cotton fields; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, living conditions, accommodations, provisions, duties, routines, treatment, payments, deductions, remittances, correspondence and recreational activities; his first contract with Western Pacific began in San Francisco, California and ended in Flanigan, Nevada; he started by working on the railroad tracks with a shovel, and he gradually progressed to a foreman’s assistant and finally to running the commissary; moreover, he explains that the camp moved around and consisted of a number of box cars, including some for the commissary, dinning and housing, which held eight men per car; he stayed with Western Pacific for six months but decided not to renew his contract, because he wanted to go home to his family; his second contract took him to the cotton fields of Mississippi; he traveled for three days on a bus, where he was fed poorly and only once a day, before arriving in the camp; once there, the men were treated horribly; they were forced to pick what was left in fields that had already been harvested; furthermore, they were given furnaces used in cargo trains, and they were expected to use them as stoves; during a strike, he spoke with officials, and they were able to resolve the problems; he stayed in Mississippi for less than forty-five days; despite his difficulties, he still has positive memories of the program.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

56 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1409

Transcript Number

No. 1409

Length of Transcript

30 pages


GMR Transcription Service

Interview Number

No. 1409

Terms of Use



Transcript is a Draft copy

Interview is in Spanish

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Oral History Commons