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Young Mexican and African-American Men Answer the Call for Farm Workers

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 [...]

"Corrido of the Uprooted Ones"

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 [...]

Themes and Formulas of Corridos

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

Spanish for Farmers

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 [...]

A Bracero's Identification Card Certifies He Is Ready to Work

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 [...]

Two Braceros Harvest Potatoes

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 [...]

A Bracero Compares Expectations versus Reality of Life in the United States

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 [...]

A Bracero Describes Work in New Mexico

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 [...]

A Bracero Enters the United States (with text supports)

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 [...]

A Bracero Enters Four Contracts in the 1950s

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 [...]

Item Type: Oral History