Myrna Parra-Mantilla


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Tomás Zapata Castañeda was born in Ejido el Faro, Chihuahua, México in 1937; although he did help his father in the fields, he also went to school; in 1956, he was hired as a bracero at the age on nineteen; he worked as a bracero in Texas, Montana, New Mexico, and Colorado.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Zapata was hired as a bracero in 1956; his first work contract took him to New Mexico, where due to the rain, he was unable to work; in the various places he went, he worked in the cotton and beet fields; he recalls that the braceros would use signs to communicate with the ranchers; in Colorado, he was able to earn $12.00 per acre that he worked; he also recalls that during the month of December, work contracts were given for three months at a time, whereas during the month of May, work contracts were given for forty-five days at a time.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

30 minutes

Tape Number

No. 990

Transcript Number

No. 990

Length of Transcript

29 pages

Interview Number

No. 990

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.