Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
José Astorga was born on July 31 of 1933 in Canelas, Durango, México, but he grew up in Topia, Durango; he was the eldest of eight siblings, and as such, began working in the fields sowing beans and corn in order to help his family; later, in 1955, he enrolled in the Bracero Program, and he continued working in the program until 1964; as a bracero, he worked in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking apples, cotton, peaches, strawberries, and sugar beets.
Summary of Interview
Mr. Astorga briefly recalls his childhood and family; later, in 1955, he learned of the opportunity to work in the United States; he explains how he was able to obtain authorization to appear on the county’s list of eligible workers despite the fact that he was a minor; in order to begin the hiring process, he traveled to the contracting center in Hermosillo, Sonora, México; from there, he went through the reception center in El Centro, California, where he underwent medical examinations; as a bracero, he worked in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, picking apples, cotton, peaches, strawberries, and sugar beets; he goes on to explain what daily life was like on the farms where he lived; in addition, he provides a detailed description of his different jobs and how they were respectively carried out, the wages he earned, and the methods of payment; he comments that he was treated well by his employers, and ultimately he is very proud to have been a bracero; because of his participation in the program, he was able to gain the experience and money necessary to begin and maintain his own business.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with José Ignacio Astorga Corral by Laureano Martínez, 2003, "Interview no. 994," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.