Laureano Martínez


Bracero Oral History

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

Salvador Esparza was born on July 15, 1919, in Tepehuanes, Durango, México; he was the eldest of his nine siblings; when he was fourteen years old, he and his family moved to Durango, Durango; in 1945, he decided to enlist in the Bracero Program; as a bracero, he worked on the railroads, in the fields cutting asparagus, and as a camp cook.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Esparza recalls his family, childhood, and adolescence; in spite of fears caused by rumors about World War II, he was encouraged by stories of successful first time braceros, and he decided to enroll in the Bracero Program in 1945; he went through the hiring process at a contracting center in Durango, México; from there, he was transported by train to Querétaro, then to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and finally to Chicago, Illinois; he describes his first impressions of Chicago and how well he was treated by the people there; in addition, he details the work, wages, payments, housing, food, and the multicultural community that worked for the railroad company; he also mentions the strong friendships formed between the braceros and the great relationship he had with an Italian foreman; furthermore, he was treated well wherever he worked; he concludes that he is extremely grateful to the United States for having afforded him the opportunity to work as a bracero.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

88 minutes

Tape Number

No. 999

Transcript Number

No. 999

Length of Transcript

49 pages

Interview Number

No. 999

Terms of Use



Interview in Spanish.