The Texas Story Project.
When she arrived in Texas, she saw no traces of the stories she had been told by her grandfather and father. She had heard the stories about when her grandfather and father traveled to Texas with the Bracero program.
They picked crops in the fields and told stories at night next to their cabin-style arrangements where several men had to sleep. Sometimes they would only have one meal a day but when her grandfather got his paycheck he would buy Tejano style sombreros and he would use the rest to pay to build his house and later gave a house to her father who also went to the fields to work in Texas. After the Bracero program, many were returned with not even a residency much less a citizenship despite their aid during the labor crisis of World War ll. However, they returned with small tokens of the culture including music, sombreros, and even certain types of food.
After many years, she decided to move to Texas herself, to have a better life and more opportunities. However, she remembered that her father and grandfather had once endured hardships as they attempted to make a living to take back to Mexico. However, the longer she lived there the more she noticed that while the culture remained, the history of the hard work of the Braceros was erased and forgotten. She eventually had four kids, her youngest now 10 years old. When they ask about their Mexican heritage and talk about Texas history, she reminds them of their great grandfather and their father. These were the workers who laid foundations for the deep spreading of the Mexican culture in Texas, the ones who helped a nation and a state in need of help. They were people who deserve respect and recognition for their aid in building what Texas is today. She hopes that her children and others will spread the stories and remember those who worked in the fields, making a huge impact. Her father and her grandfather however, continued to come back home content with the little earnings they had to build a future for their children, paving the way for her to eventually settle in the place where they once were.
Stephanie De La O is an International and Global Studies major at St. Mary’s University. She is a bilingual Mexican-American from Austin, Texas, where she was born and raised. She plans on pursuing a double major in international business and going on to law school to study family law.
Posted September 17, 2019