Report on Strangers in Our Fields by Bureau of Employment Security, 1956.

TITLE OF TEXTUAL PRIMARY SOURCE: A Report responding to a book Strangers in Our Fields written by Dr. Ernesto Galarza, the report is on the behalf of Region X, Regional Office, Bureau of Employment Security, with attachment memorandum, August 10, 1956, from H.R. Zamora to A.J. Norton regarding televised news report on Mexican National Labor Program, 1956.

WHO/WHICH INSTITUTION OWNS THE DOCUMENT: Department of Labor, Record #174

TYPE OF TEXTUAL PRIMARY SOURCE: Government Record

UNIQUE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DOCUMENT: There is handwriting on the upper right corner, “2-file Mexican Material (BES)”

DATES OF DOCUMENT: August 10, 1956

AUTHOR OF THE DOCUMENT; POSITION (TITLE): There is not an author listed for the report itself however, the attached memorandum is authored by H.R. Zamora for the Bureau of Employment Security

FOR WHICH AUDIENCE WAS THE DOCUMENT WRITTEN?: This document was written for government officials.

KEY INFORMATION ABOUT THIS TEXTUAL PRIMARY SOURCE:

  • In the memorandum the subject is in regards to a televised news report, an assignment by Bill Stouts, “Farm Labor Expose”. Zamora writes, “He wanted to talk on the way they were treated, housed, fed and exploited.” regarding Mexican workers in the Bracero Program.
  • “He referred to a recent report by Dr. Ernest Galarza who has made a complete study of the Mexican National situation entitled Strangers in Our Fields, which reveal a shocking condition of these human beings.”
  • “All I can say is that this televised report planted a little seed in the minds of the audience and today I received six telephone calls inquiring if said conditions actually exist here, and to please see that such abuses will never be permitted in California.”

I believe this document was written to shed light on what many government officials refused to see and what they allowed to take place regarding the Braceros. This document was written for the government to some how rebuttal each of the claims that Dr. Galarza is giving of the racism and discrimination the Braceros were exposed to. Dr. Galarza is speaking on the harsh treatment and harsh working and living conditions that the Braceros faced once on the camps.

One question that is left unanswered is, What did the Government do to ensure that the growers were not subjecting their workers to these conditions following the report?

Felicia Hart, University of Oklahoma, April 23, 2019