Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
María Guadalupe Salcedo Gudiño was born in Santa Bárbara, in the municipality of Jiquilpan, Michoacán, México, on August 2, 1930; she had five brothers and one sister who passed away as an infant; her parents were campesinos, and they worked on an hacienda; although she was never formally educated, she did learn how to manage a household by helping her mother and caring for her younger siblings; later, when she was sixteen years old, she married; her husband enlisted in the bracero program in 1955, and he completed a total of five contracts.
Summary of Interview
Ms. Salcedo talks about what her life was like growing up; she vividly recalls having to collect buckets of water on a daily basis from a river that was relatively far away; when she was sixteen years old, she met a man on her ranch, and soon after, they married; his parents passed away when he was eleven years old, leaving him the home where he and María lived; by 1955, they had three children, and he decided to enlist in the bracero program; he left with a group of men from nearby ranches; ultimately, he went through contracting centers in Empalme, Sonora and Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and completed a total of five contracts; sometimes, he would leave in the middle of a crop season, and María had to learn how to work in the fields; she also learned how to cut and sell wood; oftentimes, she would balance the heavy loads of wood on her head; once, she even fell from a horse while gathering wood; she was pregnant at the time and permanently injured her back; her mother helped her take care of the children; on one occasion, she did not hear or receive money from her husband for four months; at the time, he was working twelve hours a day, watering alfalfa, and he did not know anyone who could write letters for him; when he did manage to send word home, his sister was the one who read and wrote for María; in addition, she mentions speaking to other braceros’ wives; to conclude, she talks about her children and the various places they live in the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with María Guadalupe Salcedo Gudiño by Mireya Loza, 2008, "Interview no. 1453," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.