Presentation Title

Bracero Children: Familial Ties, Education, and Social Activism, 1942-2018

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Melisa C Galván

Start Date

17-11-2018 8:00 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 8:15 AM

Location

C308

Session

Oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

While much has been written on the labor shortages that prompted the United States’ negotiation of the 1942 Bracero Program, very little has been done to study the families that accompanied workers. The historiography clearly recognizes that many families were left behind in Mexico by their Bracero fathers, however, the focus of my research is the children that came with them. This promises to push the literature in a new direction that also takes into account this important, yet grossly understudied, second generation.

My research fills this gap by unpacking Bracero children’s educational opportunities once arriving in the United States. By placing in conversation both official archival records and newly conducted oral histories, it is clear that the literature has turned a blind eye to significant legislation in 1958 that addressed the educational needs of migrant children. While it is significant that legislators did take their presence into account, I argue that many communities chose to turn a blind eye in their implementation of these federal or state policies. As a result, there appears to be a stronger correlation between Bracero children joining and seeking mentorship from social activist organizations. This is not surprising given that the children of Braceros did not receive the same educational opportunities as other migrant, Mexican-American, and farmworker children. In turn, it is argued that those that did find ways into the U.S. educational system had a stronger correlation of becoming involved in higher education causes, academic research, and social and political activism to push for what they were not easily provided access to as children. This work promises to add important detail to our understanding of the Bracero Program and its impact on American social and educational history.

Summary of research results to be presented

Despite the extensive literature that focuses on the experiences of Braceros themselves the multifaceted experiences of the second generation, their children, has been overlooked. More specifically in relation to their experiences within the United States education system that lead to a subsequent developed consciousness and a push to social and political activism while in adulthood. This research seeks to fill the historiographical gap by examining the untold stories of the children of Braceros who attended school in California, through archival material concerning legislation of federal and state governments and the demands of California based organizations into conversation with oral histories of the children themselves, it can be argued that despite federal and state legislation and demands of local organizations surrounding groups that they could identify with, Bracero children faced a lack of explicit inclusion and thus did not receive adequate educational opportunities and inevitably sought out higher education, research, and social and political activism to bring awareness to and push for what their early education lacked

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Nov 17th, 8:00 AM Nov 17th, 8:15 AM

Bracero Children: Familial Ties, Education, and Social Activism, 1942-2018

C308

While much has been written on the labor shortages that prompted the United States’ negotiation of the 1942 Bracero Program, very little has been done to study the families that accompanied workers. The historiography clearly recognizes that many families were left behind in Mexico by their Bracero fathers, however, the focus of my research is the children that came with them. This promises to push the literature in a new direction that also takes into account this important, yet grossly understudied, second generation.

My research fills this gap by unpacking Bracero children’s educational opportunities once arriving in the United States. By placing in conversation both official archival records and newly conducted oral histories, it is clear that the literature has turned a blind eye to significant legislation in 1958 that addressed the educational needs of migrant children. While it is significant that legislators did take their presence into account, I argue that many communities chose to turn a blind eye in their implementation of these federal or state policies. As a result, there appears to be a stronger correlation between Bracero children joining and seeking mentorship from social activist organizations. This is not surprising given that the children of Braceros did not receive the same educational opportunities as other migrant, Mexican-American, and farmworker children. In turn, it is argued that those that did find ways into the U.S. educational system had a stronger correlation of becoming involved in higher education causes, academic research, and social and political activism to push for what they were not easily provided access to as children. This work promises to add important detail to our understanding of the Bracero Program and its impact on American social and educational history.