In the 1920s and 1930s, anti-immigrant sentiment was particularly strong, and many people were deported. This practice ended up having long-term consequences so that by the time WWII was in full swing, there was actually a labor shortage in the agricultural industry. Thus, the Bracero Program was created through an Executive Order in 1942 in order to mitigate the agricultural labor shortage. This program allowed for Mexican men to work legally on short-term labor contracts in the United States, and they were known as Braceros (which literally translates as "Arms"). California was one of the states which benefitted from this program, and so, too, did Napa Valley with its agricultural sector. Some laborers also worked on the railroads. By the time that the program was terminated in 1962, almost four million Braceros had participated in this program.
For more information, see the Library of Congress Research Guide, "1942: Bracero Program - A Latinx Resource Guide: Civil Rights Cases and Events in the United States."
Napa Valley College, on the walls of the McPherson Administration Building (Building 1500,) has a display of images that depict the Braceros in Napa Valley. The next time that you are on campus, you might want to pop by the building and take a look.
Image Information: Ulloa, Domingo. Braceros. 1960, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (oil on masonite, 36 × 49 in.)
Napa Valley College's own Joshua Murillo will be hosting a free, public event that highlights the Braceros Program. There will be a screening of the documentary, Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program on September 28 on Napa Valley College's main campus in the Little Theater (Building1200) from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. One of the film's co-directors, Dr. Vivian Price, will be attending the screening and will participate in a question-and-answer (Q&A) session following the screening. The college's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is sponsoring this event.
This documentary inspired Murillo's mural, which can be viewed on the Vine Trail in between California Blvd. and Pueblo Ave.
|November 20, 1910-1924||The Mexican Revolution creates political, economic, and social unrest.|
|July 28, 1914-1919||A labor shortage during World War I causes U.S. dependence on Mexican agricultural workers.|
|1929||The Great Depression begins and many Mexican and Mexican Americans are deported or repatriated to Mexico.|
|September 1, 1939||World War II begins.|
|July 23, 1942||Mexico declares war on the Axis powers.|
|February 19, 1942||Executive Order 9066 places persons of Japanese ancestry, many whom worked on farms, into internment camps.|
|August 4, 1942||The Bracero Program issues temporary U.S. work permits to millions of Mexicans to ease labor shortages.|
|December 31, 1964||The Bracero Program is terminated.|
Timeline Source: https://guides.loc.gov/latinx-civil-rights/bracero-program