Tomas Olivas Fierro | Chandler-Gilbert Community College
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 Community History Project

Oral History of Tomas Olivas Fierro

This oral history was conducted by CGCC student Jesus A. Diaz.

Mr. Fierro recounts his experiences as a Bracero, beginning in 1955 when he was 23 years old.  He remembers bringing only a backback of clothes and nothing more. Mr. Fierro worked picking cotton and irrigating fields in New Mexico and Texas. He recalls difficult living arrangements, sharing beds and being at risk to fires in all-wood barracks.

Although Mr. Fierro considers himself fortunate to find work through the program, he remembers some hard times. When entering the United States, he and other men were sprayed for fleas. He also recounts hardships in the field. "[Sometimes at night] they did not want the irrigation to stop; it needed to continue even if it was raining. We had to give [the crops] water.  When it rained was when we suffered the most. You could not take a tarp with would just stand there and put up with the rain. That is when we suffered the most."

Click on the following links to access the audio file of the interview and transcript.

Tomas Olivas Fierro Audio File

 Tomas Olivas Fierro transcript

Tomas Olivas Fierro

Tomas Olivas Fierro and family

family of Tomas Olivas Fierro

photos courtesy of the family