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Grounds For DreamingMexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement$
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Lori A Flores

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300196962

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300196962.001.0001

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A Town Full of Dead Mexicans

A Town Full of Dead Mexicans

The Salinas Valley Bracero Tragedy of 1963

Chapter:
(p.135) 5 A Town Full of Dead Mexicans
Source:
Grounds For Dreaming
Author(s):

Lori A. Flores

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300196962.003.0005

This chapter examines the bracero tragedy of 1963 in the Salinas Valley, the communities involved in and affected by it, and its impact on the Bracero Program and California's Chicano Movement. The tragedy happened on September 17, 1963, when a bus carrying the bracero crew that lived at the Earl Meyers Company labor camp in Salinas collided with a Southern Pacific Railroad freight train in the town of Chualar. Twenty-three died instantly. After the accident, urban and agricultural Mexican American leaders came together to protest the Bracero Program's exploitation and safety hazards. The protests led Congress to discontinue the Bracero Program in 1964. This chapter also considers the trial of bus driver Francisco (Pancho) Espinosa before concluding with an assessment of the implications of the Chualar tragedy for California's embryonic Chicano civil rights movement.

Keywords:   bracero tragedy, Salinas Valley, Bracero Program, California, Chicano Movement, Southern Pacific Railroad, Chualar, trial, Francisco Espinosa, civil rights movement

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