Title

¡Viva La Raza! : The Bracero Program in California’s Central Valley

Lead Author Major

History

Lead Author Status

Junior

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Laura Gutierrez

Faculty Mentor Email

lgutierrez2@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

History

Abstract/Artist Statement

In 1942, at the beginning of World War Two, the American homefront was in crisis. With so many men off at war, no workers were available to pick crops for harvest. What would the American government do? Would crops go to waste? Would the women and children at home starve? Who would pick these crops? To fix this crisis the American government turned to its southern ally, Mexico. Since Mexico as a nation was relatively unaffected by the war, the American government pled its case to its neighbor in hopes of their support. The two governments worked out a deal in which male Mexican workers could obtain temporary work contracts to work in U.S. agriculture and in railroad construction. This program became known as the Bracero Program. While many places all across the United States were affected by the Bracero Program, Stockton was the first city in the U.S. to receive braceros and remained an important city for bracero labor until the end of the program in 1964. In the area, braceros were important for the economy and agriculture, yet no researcher has looked into braceros in Stockton and the Central Valley. Researchers have focused on regions closer to the U.S.-Mexico border, but the Central Valley has become forgotten history. This past summer I filled the research gap and have answered the following questions: What was the typical life of a bracero here in Stockton? How was the bracero experience shaped? What contributions did braceros make to the local area?

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

Start Date

27-4-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

27-4-2018 1:49 PM

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Apr 27th, 1:30 PM Apr 27th, 1:49 PM

¡Viva La Raza! : The Bracero Program in California’s Central Valley

DeRosa University Center, Room 211

In 1942, at the beginning of World War Two, the American homefront was in crisis. With so many men off at war, no workers were available to pick crops for harvest. What would the American government do? Would crops go to waste? Would the women and children at home starve? Who would pick these crops? To fix this crisis the American government turned to its southern ally, Mexico. Since Mexico as a nation was relatively unaffected by the war, the American government pled its case to its neighbor in hopes of their support. The two governments worked out a deal in which male Mexican workers could obtain temporary work contracts to work in U.S. agriculture and in railroad construction. This program became known as the Bracero Program. While many places all across the United States were affected by the Bracero Program, Stockton was the first city in the U.S. to receive braceros and remained an important city for bracero labor until the end of the program in 1964. In the area, braceros were important for the economy and agriculture, yet no researcher has looked into braceros in Stockton and the Central Valley. Researchers have focused on regions closer to the U.S.-Mexico border, but the Central Valley has become forgotten history. This past summer I filled the research gap and have answered the following questions: What was the typical life of a bracero here in Stockton? How was the bracero experience shaped? What contributions did braceros make to the local area?