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Shedding light on the current debate over immigration reform and the use of “guest workers” in American agriculture, this historical documentary examines what was known as the Bracero Program—a system put in place from 1942 to 1964 to recruit Mexican farm laborers for temporary work in the United States. The film presents ample testimony from surviving braceros as well as family members and descendants of these displaced workers, who typically went north expecting not just high wages but also humane treatment and working conditions—expectations that were rarely if ever met.
Featured experts include Mexican activist and politician Victor Quintana, Bracero Program in California author Henry Anderson, and several others. Extensive archival material is also included. The DVD contains both an English and a Spanish version of the program. (58 minutes)
ACTIVITY: Screen in class segments of the film over the course of several weeks. Have students write reflection papers at the end of each screening that builds upon their understanding of the Bracero program from the film and any supplementary readings (secondary and/or primary) week to week.
Collection of oral histories, photos, and objects documenting the history of the Bracero program, a little-known chapter of American history in which an estimated two million Mexican men came to the United States between 1942 and 1964 on short-term labor contracts. Browse more than 600 oral histories and numerous objects, use social bookmarking tools to share resources, add notes, make a poster using items from the archive, and contribute to the archive by adding personal stories about the Bracero program. Targets grades 6-12.