Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Jesus Castilleda was born on October 15th, 1939, in Doctor Arroyo, Nuevo León, México; he had five brothers and two sisters; his father worked on the farm that they owned, while his mother was a housewife; he went to school until the third grade and later he helped his family working on the farm; he enlisted in the bracero program in Monterrey and he worked mainly in the cotton fields of Texas, as well as in Tennessee and Arkansas; his last contract was in 1964; after that he went back to México, and later he came back to the U.S. illegally; he and his family became American citizens a few years later.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Castilleda briefly recalls his childhood and working in agriculture with his family; he crossed the border to work illegally in the cotton fields with his father when he was ten or twelve years old; he remembers that his uncles came as braceros and as soon as he turned eighteen he enlisted in the city of Monterrey; after enlisting, he went through contracting centers in Piedras Negras and Hidalgo, Texas; he remembers the medical exams they were put through; he worked in places like La Mesa and Big Springs, Texas, as well as in Tennessee and Arkansas, mainly on cotton and bean fields; while working as a bracero he got married in México and he explains that he sent money to his family; in addition, he remembers that the people from the different cities he visited were very nice to the braceros; after the contracts ended he went back to México and later came back with his family illegally; after some years he arranged his residency and now all of his children live in the United States as well; Mr. Castilledas concludes that the overall experience of being a bracero helped him and his family
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Listen to the Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Jesus T. Castilleda by Ariana Ornelas, 2010, "Interview no. 1459," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.
Interview in Spanish.