Oral History of June Morrison
In 1924, June Neely's family moved from Texas to Gilbert, Arizona when she was less than a year old. Farming was to become her way of life; her father developed a prosperous farming business as did her husband, Marvin Morrison. At its height, the Morrison Brothers' Ranch grew to over 2,000 acres.
Like many farmers in the southwest, Marvin Morrison participated in the Bracero Program, from approximately 1954-1960. The Morrisons hired roughly 200 Mexican men to pick cotton by hand each season. Mrs. Morrison describes the men's housing and work.
Although she didn't interact with the men as much as her husband, she remembers that their labor had important benefits for the farm. As she states, " The government was sponsoring this program to bring in hand-cotton pickers, hand-laborers to pick the cotton. Of course that’s the best way to pick the cotton because hand-picked cotton is the cleanest. Cotton is much cleaner to be picked by hand but also much slower and much more expensive because of all of the human labor involved. But it’s really excellent cotton because there are not so many burs or leaves."
Click on the following links to access the oral history transcript, an earlier oral history conducted with June Morrison in 1992, and the audio files of the oral history.
June Morrison audio file part 1
June Morrison audio file part 2