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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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A brief overview of the Bracero program that allowed Mexican agricultural workers to enter the U.S. legally to work as farm laborers.

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Between 1942 and 1964, millions of Mexican agricultural workers entered the U.S. to work as surplus farm laborers during the government-sponsored Bracero Program. Working for lower wages than domestic farm workers, the Braceros were often victims of…

Rigoberto Garcia Perez was born in Michoacan, Mexico in 1934. His father lost land in the worldwide depression of the 1930s and became a bracero after the outbreak of World War II created a shortage of agricultural laborers in the United States. As a…

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The scale of the United States' war production effort during World War II touched every corner of the nation and millions of people. When traditional farm workers left for military service or higher paying jobs in war industries, the U.S. government…

Between 1942 and 1964, 4.6 million Mexicans came to the United States to perform the much needed but incredibly difficult "stoop work" of planting, tending, and harvesting crops. These men, called braceros, were initially invited by the United…

This handout describes the themes and formulas of corridos, Mexican and Mexican-American folk songs.

Braceros traveled to a country where they did not know the language or the customs. In order to help them understand their new surroundings, local committees prepared Spanish-English phrasebooks such as the one pictured below. This handbook…

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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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…

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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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