Laureano Martínez


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

78 minutes

Tape Number

No. 992

Transcript Number

No. 992

Length of Transcript

69 pages

Interview Number

No. 992

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.