Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Rosendo Alarcón was born on January 27, 1938, in Tepehuanes, Durango, México; he was the second of ten siblings; when he was seven years old, he began helping his family work in the fields, and he continued to do so throughout his teenage years; he later enrolled in the Bracero Program in 1957; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking chile, cotton, and tomato; he continued working with the program until 1959.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Alarcón briefly describes his childhood, adolescence, and family; he recalls that he initially heard of the Bracero Program through radio and newspaper advertisements; in 1957, he enrolled in the program with the hopes of earning money in order to return to México and open his own business; he details the different steps he went through at the contracting center in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México; in addition, he provides a vivid description of the traumatic medical examinations, the delousing process, and the overall horrible treatment he received from the American doctors; as a bracero, he worked in California and Texas, picking chile, cotton, and tomato; he goes on to explain the daily activities on the farm, including work, wages, methods of payment, tax deductions, contract amendments and extensions, housing, and food; some braceros would gamble and drink on weekends; prostitution was allowed in the camps; he later narrates what his life was like after the program, and he explains why he ultimately decided to stay in México rather than return to the United States.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Rosendo Alarcón Carrera by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 992," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.