Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Nicolás Grimaldo Andrade was born on a small ranch named San Francisco in Zaragoza, Nuevo León, México, on September 10, 1938,; he had two older brothers and one younger sister; his parents worked in agriculture; by the age of seven, he was already sowing seeds and working the land; during the early fifties, one of his older brothers enlisted in the bracero program and worked in Michigan; Nicolás decided to do the same, and in 1955, at the age of twenty-two, he become a bracero; he stayed in the program for eight years, until 1962; he picked crops and irrigated the fields in Arkansas and Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Grimaldo talks about his family and hometown; when he was growing up, his parents did not own the land they worked, which was problematic; during the early fifties, one of his older brothers enlisted in the bracero program and worked in Michigan; Nicolás would pick up the letters and money his brother sent home; in 1955, at the age of twenty-two, he decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a bracero; he describes the process and necessary paperwork to enlist at the contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; on two separate occasions, while passing though Chihuahua, México, he had to pay two thousand pesos for transportation to El Paso, Texas; he stayed in the program for eight years, until 1962; he picked crops and irrigated the fields in Arkansas and Texas; he goes on to detail the various worksites, camp sizes, provisions, accommodations, duties, routines, treatment, payments, remittances, correspondence and contract lengths; in Lamesa, Texas he had to water the crops every two hours, night and day; he was ready to quit after a month of this, but his employer changed the schedule to daytime hours only; in addition, he explains that while in Arkansas he began to feel pain in his leg, which he later attributed to rheumatism from irrigating in Texas; he was given injections, but they did not help much; ultimately, he changed work locations and duties; he has both positive and negative memories of the program, because he suffered greatly, his body in particular, but he was also able to save a good amount of money.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Nicolás Grimaldo Andrade by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1437," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.