Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Pedro Domínguez Castillo was born October 19, 1926, on the Isla de Janitzio, Michoacán, México,; he had three brothers and three sisters; his parents were fishermen; he was formally educated through the third grade, but none of his siblings were able to go to school; in 1958, he enlisted in the bracero program; he completed a total of three contracts and labored in the fields of California picking cotton, strawberries and tomatoes.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Domínguez describes his childhood; he went to school in a different town but had to stop, because his family needed help with their fishing; when he was sixteen he heard about the bracero program; he ultimately decided to enlist in 1958, out of economic necessity; at the time, he was married and had one daughter; he traveled with a group of fifteen men to the contracting center in Empalme, Sonora, México; while there he underwent medical examinations and had to wait for only three days to obtain a contract; he completed a total of three contracts and labored in the fields of California picking cotton, strawberries and tomatoes; he goes on to detail the various worksites, housing, amenities, provisions, deductions, treatment, correspondence, contract lengths, friendships, and recreational activities, including trips into town; while in the United States, he picked cotton for the first time, which he found extremely difficult; his favorite place to work was Stockton, California, where he picked strawberries, because the climate was mild and work was agreeable; in contrast, while he was in Santa Barbara, California, the Mexican consul was contacted with regard to mistreatment of the braceros by a foreman; moreover, immigration officials also investigated undocumented workers in Santa Barbara; he mentions speaking in Tarasco to other men from his hometown and even teaching a few words to workers who did not know the language; when Pedro returned home, he brought small gifts to his wife as well as clothes and scissors, which he found particularly useful; the money he was able to save and send home went a very long way in México; he mentions continuing to fish upon his return, and he goes on to discuss his life after the program.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Pedro Domínguez Castillo by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1434," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.