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The Bracero Program 1942-1965. By: Joe Buffa HST 327. Events Leading Up To Bracero Program. The Repatriation/Deportation movement Began during The Great Depression Removed many Mexicans from the United States (estimated to about 1 million, maybe more)

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The Bracero Program 1942-1965

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    1. The Bracero Program1942-1965 By: Joe Buffa HST 327

    2. Events Leading Up To Bracero Program • The Repatriation/Deportation movement • Began during The Great Depression • Removed many Mexicans from the United States (estimated to about 1 million, maybe more) • Mexicans were seen as the cause of The Great Depression • These drives slowed by 1935

    3. Events Leading Up To Bracero Program • As a result of the Repatriation/Deportation efforts, the U.S. labor force was not as large as it had been in the past • When WWII broke out, a labor shortage crisis developed in the U.S. because so many men left to fight in the war • U.S. quickly established a “good neighbor” policy with Mexico

    4. The Beginning of the Bracero Program • Mexican farm labor supply (Mexico’s main contribution to the war) • Goal was to alleviate the labor shortages that were plaguing the U.S. • Mexico was able to negotiate the terms of the first contract

    5. Mexico’s Terms • Sought to protect its’ workers rights • “The contract guaranteed workers’ rights. Among other things, it stipulated that Mexican workers would not displace domestic workers, it exempted braceros from military service, and it obliged the U.S. government to prevent discrimination towards these Mexican workers. The contract also regulated transportation, housing, and wages of the braceros (Acuna, Occupied America, p.266).”

    6. Braceros in the U.S. • Photograph shows how the braceros were taken to processing centers to be searched for vegetables, weapons, marijuana or similar contraband and were also sprayed with DDT upon entering the U.S. • The photographer, Leonard Nadel, wrote this as the caption for the photo: “Much in the same manner and feeling used in handling livestock, upon crossing over the bridge from Mexico at Hidalgo, Texas, the men are herded into groups of 100 through a makeshift booth sprayed with DDT.” • Picture found at: Bracero workers being fumigated Part of the Smithsonian Collection

    7. Braceros in the U.S. • U.S. signed the contract • Braceros were granted six to twelve month visas to work in the United States • 4-5 million workers entered the United States between 1942-1965 • Mainly worked the fields • The dual wage system was suppose to be eliminated

    8. Braceros in the U.S. • The U.S. was to protect workers from discrimination • They were to monitor and report abuses • The U.S. was to provide sufficient housing and living conditions • However, the braceros were only allowed to return to their native lands in cases of emergency, and were required to have written permission from their employer to leave

    9. Braceros in the U.S. • Photograph shows one example of the housing provided contractors would provide for braceros. Such housing included poorly converted barns, tents, and other over crowded facilities. • The photographer, Leonard Nadel, wrote this as the caption for the photo: “This is housing provided by a Texan farmer for 200 braceros in this long building, with the beds made out of stretched canvas, upper and lower. Such close living conditions make for high incidences of respiratory illnesses among the braceros.” • Picture found at: Example of Bracero housing Part of the Smithsonian Collection

    10. Braceros in Texas • Shortly after the Bracero program was implemented it was realized that Texas was not honoring the contract signed between the U.S. and Mexico • Texas farmers feared that they would soon have to grant equality to other minority races if they were to treat Mexicans fairly • Mexicans were not given equal wages or adequate housing among other things

    11. Braceros in Texas • As a result, Texas was exempted from the Bracero Program and its influx of Mexican workers was cut off • Still though, Texas was facing the same labor shortages as any other area and desperately needed Mexican workers • In 1947 the Mexican government agreed to send Mexican workers to Texas despite the fact that Texas would not agree to all the terms of the original contract

    12. Adjustments to the Bracero Program • The contract was re-negotiated several times throughout its existence from 1942-1965 • In 1947 a new agreement allowed U.S. farmers to recruit their own workers and thus the government no longer was the direct employer • This allowed the farmers to hire these laborers even if they were undocumented

    13. Adjustments to the Bracero Program • In 1948 when Mexico refused to sign more bracero contracts until the workers were given higher wages, the U.S. would later open its’ borders allowing the laborers to come into the country anyways • This forced Mexico to comply with U.S. terms • Terms did not have the best interest of the Mexican workers in mind, however Mexico relied on the revenue coming back to Mexico from these laborers and could not afford to have them crossing the border at will

    14. Bracero Program After WWII • Braceros still used after the war even though the labor crisis was over • Used as strike breakers • Used to keep wages low • The Emergency Farm Labor Service began working on decreasing the amount of Mexican labor imported • Mexicans once again viewed as a problem • Many undocumented workers were rounded up and deported back to Mexico • The Bracero Program was to come to an end

    15. Pictures of Braceros • Photograph shows a bracero worker posing for a picture, holding a hoe on a lettuce field • The photographer, Leonard Nadel, wrote this as the caption for the photo: “’We have no names. We are called only by numbers.’ Since the beginning of the program in 1942, over a million nameless Mexican farm laborers have been imported into the United States as temporary agricultural workers under and (sic) agreement between the United States and Mexico. These workers—braceros—also known as “drybacks” to distinguish them from the illegal ‘wetbacks.’ By 1955, more than 400,000 braceros were passing through the United States annually.” • Picture found at: Bracero worker holding a hoe Part of the Smithsonian Collection

    16. Pictures of Braceros • Photographer: Leonard Nadel • Picture found at: Prospective braceros walking to a collection point in Mexico Part of the Smithsonian Collection

    17. Pictures of Braceros • Photo shows some of the last Mexican workers to come to the region (California) under the Bracero program • Picture found at: Bracero workers

    18. Sources • Acuna, Rodolfo. Occupied America. 5th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. • "Bracero Housing." America on the Move. 8 Nov. <>. • "Bracero Worker Holding a Hoe." America on the Move. 8 Nov. 2006 <>. • "Bracero Workers." America on the Move. 8 Nov. 2006 <>. • "Bracero Workers Being Fumigated." America on the Move. 8 Nov. 2006 <>. • "Prospective Braceros Walking to a Collection Point in Mexico." America on the Move. 8 Nov. 2006 <>. • "Mexican Immigrant Labor History." PBS. 8 Nov. 2006 <>.

    19. Judith Francisca Baca

    20. Judith Francisca Baca • Born September 20th, 1946 of Mexican American parents in East Los Angeles • A visual artist and one of the nation's leading muralists • Best known for her large-scale public art works • Has served as the Founder/Artistic Director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center in Venice, California since 1976 • Has been a Professor of Fine Arts at the University of California teaching studio art since 1980

    21. Judith Francisca Baca • Has been a faculty member of the University of California, Irvine and California State University • Founded the first City of Los Angeles mural program in 1974 • Program responsible for over 400 murals • Employed thousands of local participants • Lasted ten years • Has organized over 1,000 young people in Los Angeles to create more than 250 murals citywide • Many of these people were at risk youth, including rival gang members

    22. Judith Francisca Baca • Judith Baca has received: • “awards and recognition from the California Community Foundation, the Liberty Hill Foundation, the AFL/CIO, the California State Assembly, the United States Senate and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Judith Baca was the recipient of a 2001 Education Award from the National Hispanic Heritage Awards. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Tourism Industry Development Council and on the Advisory Panel for the Ford Foundation's “Expanding the Civic Role of the Arts”(Montgomery Fellows,

    23. The Great Wall • One of her most famous murals • The wall is over 2,435 feet long • Created in the Tujunga Wash drainage canal in the San Fernando Valley of California • This mural represents the history of ethnic peoples in California • Roughly 700 participants were involved in the creation of this mural • Made in segments spanning over 7 summers

    24. The Great Wall • Included the work of over 400 individuals from ages 14 – 21 • Furthermore, scholars, oral historians, local artists and community members all contributed to this work of art, and helped make it one of the most esteemed cultural works in the U.S. • Thousands visit this site every year

    25. Segments of The Great Wall • This particular segment of The Great Wall, depicts the Zoot Suit Riots • Picture found at:

    26. Segments of The Great Wall • This segment of the wall commemorates Mexican-Americans who were deported • Picture found at:

    27. Segments of The Great Wall • This segment of the wall depicts Mexican rule of California in 1622 • Picture found at:

    28. Segments of The Great Wall • This segment deals with the Civil Rights Movement, and boasts some of the most influential Civil Rights leaders • Picture found at:

    29. Segments of The Great Wall • This segment of the wall shows the development of Suburbia in California • Picture found at:

    30. Other Finished Murals By Judith Baca • Here are descriptions of a few of Baca’s other Murals: • Danzas Indigenas • Located at the Baldwin Park Metrolink Station • 400-ft colored concrete and brass designed train platform • Features five languages • Includes a 100-ft plaza with a 20-ft four-directional arch • La Memoria de Nuestra Tierra: Colorado  • 50-ft digital mural • Depicts historical stratigraphy as recalled layers of a land and its people • Located in central terminal of Denver International Airport

    31. Judith Baca’s Ongoing Projects • Currently Judith Baca has a few ongoing projects, two of which are: • Durango Mural Project: "La Memoria De Nuestra Tierra" • This mural is being built over the Internet with Southern Ute and Chicano Youth of Durango, Colorado • Will be placed on the exterior of the city's art center • 20ft x 35ft produced on enamel tiles • The WORLD WALL: A Vision of the Future without Fear • An international collaboration • Consisting of seven 10 ft x 30 ft portable mural panels on canvas • 210 ft mural in seven parts • Mural addresses contemporary issues of war, peace, cooperation, interdependence, and transformation • Seven additional panels to be added by artists from seven different countries

    32. The World Wall • Triumph of the Hearts • Picture found at:

    33. The World Wall • The Triumph of the Hands • Picture found at:

    34. Sources • "Baca, Judith." Montgomery Fellows. 13 Apr. 2004. Dartmouth College. 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • Guh, Jessica. "Judy Baca." Standford Institute for Diversity in the Arts. 2001. Standford U. 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • Hernández, Luciano. "Judith Francisca Baca." 22 Apr. 1998. 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • "Judith Francisca Baca." 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • "Judy Baca's Art Work." 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • "The Great Wall of Los Angeles." 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • "The World Wall- Triumph of the Hands." 13 Oct. 2006 <>. • "The World Wall- Triumph of the Hearts." 13 Oct. 2006 <>.