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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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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…

Having heard about successful braceros, Salvador Esparza Carreño decided to enlist in the bracero program in 1945. He worked as a railroad worker, in the fields cutting asparagus, and as a camp cook. He describes his work and leisure time in…

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,…

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…

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…

Braceros who worked close to the Mexican border were sometimes able to go back and forth to see family or enjoy the food and culture of their homeland. Carlos Sánchez Montoya describes such travel from New Mexico, as well as making tortillas for his…

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…

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The majority of braceros who came to the United States performed the most difficult types of agricultural labor: planting, tending, and harvesting crops. This type of work was called "stoop work" because it required laborers to spend all day bent…

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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…

In this activity students write original corridos (a type of Mexican folk song) based on the oral histories of braceros. Before writing their own corridos, students learn about the formulas and themes of corridos and analyze a World War II-era…
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