From 2005 to 2009 the National Museum of American History embarked on one of its most ambitious collecting projects, focused on documenting experiences around the Bracero Program, the largest guest worker program in American History. This article focuses on the dilemmas of documenting memory through oral history for the Bracero History Archive and the reception of the National Museum of American History’s exhibit, Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942–1964. The present day political and social context in which these oral histories were collected left indelible marks on how the program is remembered. The retelling of bracero history also reveals contemporary concerns with the role that Mexican agricultural workers play in American society and sheds light on the national dilemma of immigration reform.
- © 2016 by The Regents of the University of California and the National Council on Public History