Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Tiburcio Delgado Garfia was born in Huaniqueo, Michoacán, México, on November 14, 1935; he was the eldest of his fifteen siblings, but one of his brothers passed away; his parents were campesinos on their own plot of land; he went to school for a short time, but he began working with his parents by the time he was roughly eight years old; he later enlisted in the bracero program; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of California, Montana and New Mexico, picking beets, cantaloupe, chile, cotton, green beans, pumpkins and strawberries.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Delgado briefly discusses his family; some of his relatives and neighbors enlisted in the bracero program; his uncles returned to México with enough money to buy land and animals; he decided to join the program in the hope of providing more for his wife; Tiburcio offers a detailed description of the process to get on the list of eligible workers; moreover, in order to enlist, the men had to pay between four and five hundred pesos; he had to give up part of his land in order to get a loan to enroll in the program; later, when men began using coyotes, they easily paid over one thousand pesos; as part of the contracting process, he endured long lines on top of being stripped, deloused and generally treated poorly; he also comments that the Mexican government was paid thirty dollars for each bracero by the American government; as a bracero, he worked in the fields of California, Montana and New Mexico, picking beets, cantaloupe, chile, cotton, green beans, pumpkins and strawberries; he goes on to detail various work sites, camp sizes, provisions, treatment, duties, payment, deductions, remittances, correspondence and recreational activities; in addition, he recalls that Salinas, California was his favorite place to work, because he could go to church on Sundays; he also mentions that while there, some men went on strike for better pay; those not on strike, including himself, were paid more; in 1959, he stopped working as a bracero and returned to México; he goes on to explain his involvement in local organizations for campesinos, like Bracero PROA.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Tiburcio Delgado Garfia by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1432," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.