Steve Velasquez, Harry Rubenstein and Peter Liebhold
Bracero Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Dolores Huerta was born in Dawson, New Mexico, but she was raised in Stockton, California; her father was a migrant worker, and she often accompanied him when she was young; later, she and her brothers also labored in the fields picking various crops; as an adult, she began working with braceros through the Community Service Organization (CSO); such efforts led to her involvement with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), and ultimately with the United Farm Workers (UFW).
Summary of Interview
Ms. Huerta briefly talks about her parents and what her life was like growing up; as an adult, she began working with braceros as part of the Community Service Organization (CSO); she would often go to the bracero labor camps to help them when they were injured, which included obtaining doctors and/or lawyers when necessary; her mother owned a hotel at the time, where the braceros often stayed; she cared for them, giving them curfews and making sure they did not drink too much; she even invited them to local dances and encouraged them to get involved in the community; many braceros eventually married local women and settled in Stockton, California; although the braceros did become a part of the community, at times there was tension, because locals were too expensive to hire in comparison to braceros; moreover, braceros were often taken advantage of by growers; sometimes, they would get twice the number of workers they needed and rent out half of them as hired labor for profit; other times, the braceros would work in small groups only four hours a day; in addition to the money growers were given to feed each bracero, they would also turn a profit from the goods braceros purchased at the commissaries; these various tactics ensured that braceros did not earn very much; Dolores goes on to chronicle the different coalitions and labor groups she worked with, including the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) and the United Farm Workers (UFW).
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
GMR Transcription Service
Interview with Dolores Huerta by Steve Velasquez, Harry Rubenstein and Peter Liebhold, 2005, "Interview No. 1577," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.