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In this memoir first published in 1952, Charles Denby, an African-American migrant from Alabama, recalls his train ride North and first night in Detroit, Michigan. In 1930, out of work because of the Great Depression, Denby moved back to the South. He returned to Detroit in 1943, where he became an member of the United Auto Workers union and was…

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Item Type: Biography/Autobiography
Date: 1952

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and not be able to become…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and not be able to become…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1896

José Francisco Delgado Soto traveled extensively around the United States as a bracero. He worked in Michigan, California, Washington, and Texas picking apples, cherries, corn, eggplants, lettuce, pears, pumpkins, and sugar beets. He describes what Mexicans hoped to find in the United States and contrasts that with the often difficult labor…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 2002

In this oral history Alvaro Hernández describes how he entered the United States, first as an illegal worker and then as a bracero. Mr. Hernández was born in Jilemes, Chihuahua, Mexico. His father was an agricultural worker and his mother was a teacher. When he was 14, he first entered the United States illegally to pick cotton. Later…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 2003

In this oral history Alvaro Hernandez describes how he entered the United States, first as an illegal worker and then as a bracero. Mr. Hernandez was born in Jilemes, Chihuahua, Mexico. His father was an agricultural worker and his mother was a teacher. When he was 14, he first entered the United States illegally to pick cotton. Later he joined…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 2003

Despite rumors that braceros would be sent off to fight in World War II, Manuel Sandoval Espino joined the bracero program in 1943. He recalls having to go to the local politician in order to get a pass to join. Mr. Sandoval worked in Kansas as a railroad worker. In this interview he describes some of the events that made him disillusioned with…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 2002

Although he had received a rare scholarship to attend middle school, Andrés Héctor Quezada Lara dropped out to become a bracero. His work took him to many places in the United States, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas. First he worked on the railroads, but later worked cutting lettuce and sugar beets in…
Aaron Castañeda Gamez and thousands of other Mexican workers had to pass a series of examinations to enter the bracero program. Recruits reported to centers in Mexico where they were inspected for lice and disease. Braceros' hands were inspected to see if they had calluses, indicating they were familiar with manual labor. They were told to…

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Item Type: Artifact
Date: 1944

This labor contract between a Chinese worker, "Affon," and California businessman Jacob P. Leese, was made in Hong Kong on July 28, 1849, and witnessed by A. Shue, C. H. Brinley, and Henry Anthon, Jr., acting U.S. Vice Consul in Hong Kong. The discovery of gold in California in 1848 drew miners from around the world and filling other kinds of jobs…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1849