Mexican Labor and World War II: Braceros in the Pacific Northwest, 1942-1947 - Columbia Northwest Classics S. (Paperback)

by Erasmo Gamboa, Kevin Leonard

Format: Paperback 208 pages

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'Although Mexican migrant workers have toiled in the fields of the Pacific Northwest since the turn of the century, and although they comprise the largest work force in the region's agriculture today, they have been virtually invisible in the region's written labor history. Erasmo Gamboa's study of the bracero program during World War II is an important beginning, describing and documenting the labor history of Mexican and Chicano workers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and contributing to our knowledge of farm labor' - "Oregon Historical Quarterly". 'A much needed analysis...[Gamboa's] analysis of the ways in which Braceros were active agents of their own lives is probing and insightful. His descriptions of living and working conditions in migrant farm camps are detailed and reveal a deep sensitivity for the men who travelled so far from home in order to find work' - "Pacific Historical Review".'Gamboa has provided intriguing glimpses into the experiences of a Mexican-origin population well away from the border states...[ He] has done an admirable job in broadening our understanding of the bracero experience by underscoring how differently the program operated in the Pacific Northwest...Mexican nationals working in the region suffered from a profound sense of cultural dislocation that led many of them to desert their jobs well before their contracts had expired' - "Agricultural History".'Gamboa claims that the experiences of Mexican contract laborers in the Pacific Northwest were unique. These braceros encountered more discriminatory wage systems, working conditions that 'truly dehumanized' them, strong racial animosity, and little recognition for their role in keeping Northwest agriculture afloat during World War II. These braceros, the most militant of all such laborers, fought back with strikes' - "Journal of the West". Erasmo Gamboa is associate professor of American ethnic studies at the University of Washington.

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University of Washington Press


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